Home > Poetry > I Don’t Fear Death
Published: Tue Jul 1 2008
Eva Lundsager, Were now like (detail), 2021, oil on canvas
I Don’t Fear Death

But what I’m really picturing
is Omaha: field after field

of sorghum crisp to my touch
and one house on a high hill,

sheets on the line. You tell me
everything ceases, that even

our fingernails give up, but
what I really believe is that

we keep growing: infinite corn,
husk yielding to green husk.

I look back on the miles
connecting me to Earth, think

I’d have never worn those shoes.
I slip them off like anything

borrowed. The clouds are thin
and yellow, smelling of

fireworks and salt. In Omaha,
the town votes me Queen of

Everything. You are the slow
dance, the last ring of smoke:

to be held tight, and then only
this colder air between us.

Sandra Beasley is the author of three poetry collections—Count the Waves, I Was the Jukebox, winner of the Barnard Women Poets Prize, and Theories of Falling, winner of the New Issues Poetry Prize—as well as Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales from an Allergic Life, a disability memoir that doubles as a cultural history of food allergies. In 2018 she edited Vinegar and Char: Verse from the Southern Foodways Alliance. Honors for her work include a 2015 NEA fellowship, the Center for Book Arts Chapbook Prize, the Friends of Literature Prize from the Poetry Foundation, the Maureen Egen Exchange Award from Poets & Writers, the Elinor Benedict Poetry Prize from Passages North, fellowships from the Vermont Studio Center, Virginia Center for Creative Arts, and the Millay-Colony, and four DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities fellowships. Her poems have been featured by Best American Poetry, Verse Daily, and Best New Poets. She lives in Washington, DC, and teaches in the University of Tampa low-residency MFA program. (updated 4/2019)

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