Four Poems
by Kaia Sand

The President Probably Talks

the president probably talks to someone every day.

sometimes his lips are moving, but our volume’s too low.

sometimes his voice is a tenth the volume of mine.

sometimes his voice trembles inside my ten voices.

sometimes his ten words devalue the currency.

sometimes we promise our poor Americans.

sometimes someone looks into someone’s eyes for truth.

sometimes we think we see it.

in someone’s ten coughs, tuberculosis is passed from cot to cot.

sometimes ten walls separate me from two people making one decision.

sometimes I feel like a holy-ten-voice-roller.

my ten voices are still talking.the president looked into a prime minister’s eyes.we do
that to look for truth.turn up the volume.his voice is an nth the volume of ours.

Deja Vu Love Boutique

I’ve opened a can with its opener.
I’ve opened a can with my teeth.
I’ve returned to find fire in the kitchen.
I’ve found my keys, instead.
My favorite dress is the backless one.
There’s always the problem of the bra.
How much fuel runs the 1956 bulldozer?
Why does the brush acquiesce to its bulk?
Does the brush reap rewards for prostration?
Does the onion lust for eyes?
I’ve lied, but only twice in this poem.
Here’s some dirt I’d like to bulldoze.
It’s civic, that dirt, heaped over bodies, cultivated toward lawns.
The house’s vendettas are ready for new occupants.
My arm is long with fingers
turning on the truthful lamp, folding habits of a blanket.
fidgeting lectures in my lap
I’m feeling more bingo than slot machine, social, I mean.
The way the mosquitoes share my face with me.

Bell Curve

—–that shape we strike for sound
how we draw it, a line around ‘abilities’
how the legless man saw the legged
how the legged saw him

how I map natural disasters, friends nearby
how states-in-reds-and-blues is a shorthand
who we have sex with who we match our glasses to
who we buy with our billfolds
how fifty percent of bankruptcy is from medical bills
how the lotto winner swore she’d never change
how we spin sickness on the roulette wheel of capital, catapulting, catapulting, catapulting
how she was called ‘feebleminded’ because she was pregnant in 1924
how he was called criminal for his long face and bad eyesight

who we grieve for
whose touch is infectious
whose home has what walls
whose park is a home is a bed
whose ashes fill rusted cans
who is not my enemy
whose global funeral finds its fans
who I grieve for

who chased my car with his car
who I escaped from
who I chase with my daily purchase
who was tossing rice at a bride
whose body is not claimed

who is a boy who wishes to be glamorous and womanish
who is a girl who is a girl who is a girl
who is a girl
who smiles to signify static and such future
who names her truck ‘snowball’ and furies the logging roads
whose teeth cut on smoke
whose teeth were pulled by country doctors
who then moved to the city
who then moved his human body to the city
whose human face did not smile
whose gray smile was not bought
whose gray signature claims personhood
whose gray is her black and white
who was black when she crossed state lines
who was white in her long shadow

who lives nearby who is not a neighbor
that person does not talk to that person
whose taxday is evasive
whose IRS envelope is annual and heavy
whose address is racial
whose wall marks the white demographic
whose body is perfumed and bedecked
whose body is sequined for the complicit mirror
whose body is not claimed

who learned chess from his father
who stands guard by the wrought iron the barbed wire the chain link
who demands a callback
who is not a mother but a telemarketer
who is not a telemarketer when another job is offered
who is a mother and a telemarketer and a cousin and a lover of tulips and tobacco
who we grieve for

who is a sister is a brother is a brother to a brother to a sister a sister to a sister a brother
whose human body we recognize in its carbon in its sequins
that we recognize faces as beloved or we look down and keep walking

that we keep walking
who we grieve for
who we have sex with
who is a suitor who suits us
who we love who we recognize
that shape we strike for sound
whose bodies we claim


John Kerry: hunt down and kill…hunt and kill…hunt down and kill…hunt down and kill…hunt them down and will kill them…
George Bush: on the hunt…on the hunt…on the hunt…
(candidate comments, sans most of the text, from all three debates)

that I was hunted. that I was in a scope. briefly, that I was hunted, that I was afraid. now I’m not in that scope, or am I, if I speak, the scope will find me: I’m seen

hunt is not a metaphor, though zell miller says ‘metaphor,’ hunt is not a metaphor.

we gather berries, we gather firewood, we strike a match. but we hunt pigeons and women are prey.

that we were hunted. that we were in a scope. briefly, that we were hunted, that we were afraid. if the scope will find us, we’re seen.

like a deer in the headlights. like a woman in a scope. like a woman in headlights, alerted on myself, my enemy self, in a scope, I slow.

that I hunted myself. that I was hunted by me, narrowed the scope on my movements, slowed down to be shot.

that we hunt each other, that we are alerted to each other. that we are hunted, narrow our scope on each other: slow down and be shot.


Kaia Sand co-edits The Tangent with Jules Boykoff. She is author of Interval (Edge Books) and lives in Oregon.

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