Heather Sager lives in Illinois. Her most recent poetry appears in Version (9), Magma, The Orchards, Red Eft, The Bosphorus Review of Books, Bluepepper, ActiveMuse, Shabd Aaweg Review, Fahmidan Journal, and more. Her recent fiction appears in The Fabulist and elsewhere.
TRANSCRIPTION (A PARABLE)
Before I went deaf,
I had the music of the world
at my fingertips.
It was not a deafness
I had expected,
it just happened.
Every time I walked
up those night-time stairs,
my legs felt so heavy
with soundless grief.
And yet, next dusk,
the cobalt-gray cloak about trees
in my winter window
looked like so much new light.
© Heather Sager
Only your collective eyes tell you how far it snakes,
this shimmering desert road that stretches its tail
from the dusty Cairo suburb into the Sahara,
you and your cousin shouting with joy,
and whooping your young man cries,
taking turns with his bicycle, you on your break
from the city of intrigues where Mother locks you up
behind your building’s doors to sweat,
to play games of chess, the clouds out your window
your only friend…
your whoops break into the air over the desert,
manly shrieks roll proud as warriors,
storm clouds on a blazing bright day.
You fantasize about the painted green mailbox
dizzyingly placed at the very highest hill’s top,
a snaking five miles distance of labyrinthine forested turns
from your home in the valley. You have passed by it in cars.
One late afternoon you accept the challenge. Ever the walker,
ever the rambler, more a warrior shout than a teen girl,
you don your rugged hiking shoes and set off. Soon, it’s dimming,
the cold thickening about your breath—
you’ve lengthened your defiant legs with miles of strides,
your torso expanding and contracting with air so sharp
it blew in from Norway, it doesn’t bother you that you’re alone,
you don’t even think of your father back home,
forced to play backgammon by himself, when, at last, after many strides
a victor, you attain the last hilltop, with the green mailbox…
barely visible in the fast-falling, tinted, snow-blurred dark…
© Heather Sager