Eratio Issue 17




Six Prose Poems


by Bernd Sauermann







I mine your glance for anything of value.  A world ends a hand’s width away from the flicker of late-night TV as the notion of travel is discussed.  Destinations are shuffled like a deck of face cards.  We get in the car.  When I roll down the window, it means that I need some air.  When you roll down the window, it means that I will dance with a stranger at a bar in a city where I won’t know you anymore.  You will speak in the voice of a stranger and my heart will crack like granite to reveal a vein of dull, silent ore. 







Obsessions twist like weather, the cold receptacle of an upturned palm, the casual dismissal of everything near the familiar center.  A temple of hands is built in the morning of blue light.  There are footsteps in the snows of last night’s passing, and soon, soon the footsteps will be black.  Smoke, too, will rise like a threatening hand from somewhere off in the distance. 





The Nature of Scent


The salt, a trace of all your tears, scattered to thaw the slivers of a thousand frozen days.  Another tract of silent letters in the basement of averted eyes.  Years later, learning how to get bigger mirrors the rising light, fills another minute, then another.  Soon an event will surface like a bruise.  Footsteps stop a hand from recalling the fond hours of darkness.  A bed retains the scent of ink like a black sheet in the dim morning light, where formerly an arm shone.  





Astronomy 101


Perihelion, the last few hours of one more night, photons advancing, filling the black holes between our words.  We knew that an ending had arrived when we watched the moon slump toward the horizon.  There exists a star, dark matter, and there exists a body of light.  A galaxy in someone else’s eyes, the impersonal distance of ether. 







Then the corner of triste and giddy, memories yet to commit, so much like a busy intersection after the cars have left.  So lovely walks the sun, so careless, and the grass nodding in approval.  Yet there stands an invisible tree so sad one can hear its muffled sobs.  It’s true—I can’t afford one million sighs and no stars will fall into your hand or mine at this intersection of obligatory gestures made in some other universe. 





Let’s Go


Fifteen minutes to sunshine, warmth, the breeze, the sidewalk.  The going home, the lonely pleasure of a wanted dead or alive communiqué.  I will break your heart like an ashtray since every day has arrived like one precise cloud in the broken sky.  The short walk to the car, a phrase waiting in an open mouth, all revved up and ready to drive.  Do you have a light?  Hand me that ashtray.  Hand me your mouth, so close to the whirring blades of the sky. 










Bernd Sauermann teaches writing, literature, and film at Hopkinsville Community College in Hopkinsville, Kentucky.  He is also the poetry editor at Whole Beast Rag, an online (and sometimes print) journal of art, ideas, and literature.  He’s had work published in The McSweeney’s Book of Poets Picking Poets, McSweeney’s, Southern Indiana Review, Indefinite Space, New Orleans Review, Ink Node, Conduit, Poetry Motel, Comstock Review, The Round Table, The Kansas Quarterly Review of Literature, Open 24 Hours, Monadnock Writer, Vinyl Poetry, Anti-, ditch, Connotation Press: An Online Artifact and other publications, and he has a chapbook entitled Diesel Generator coming out with Horse Less Press in June of 2013.  His first full-length work, Seven Notes in a Dead Man’s Song, has been accepted for publication by Mad Hat Press.