Journalism in Verse – EST. 2016


Moonlit Monostitch [AUDIO]

in Audio/Politics by


It’s so bad even the introverts had to come out.

I too wanted to write about the moon.

After another bomb on the other side of Kabul, after calling loved ones on cell phones, someone turned the music back up in the cafe where lunch resumed.

I always wanted to learn to sew a button well, but for me it’s a type of indulgence whereas for the woman who likely sewed my shirt button, it’s a type of survival.

Last night I woke up to the sound of hard rain outside and though I often wake up at night, I found this to be a pleasing sound.

The night of the election I rocked my newborn to sleep and cried silently; I wish I could blame hormones, call it a “female thing.”

I can’t put my finger on it — there’s no button.

An anxiety of influence, doubt, malice, cowardice made me (not) do it.

If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.

After a false alarm, an errant text message of an approaching ballistic missile, Hawaiians went back to work.

There it goes: the sound of a billionaire making another billion with a stroke of a pen.

If you aren’t horrified, you aren’t paying attention.

The day after the election, Obama waxed poetic “no matter what happens, the sun will rise in the morning…”

I forgot to bring the poem about the garden to the reading.

Poems that draw too much attention to their endings jolt me like a door slamming shut.

I’ve never missed a president before.

Imagine an act of rebellion like storming the bastille with electronic petitions.

What should I write today to my senator?

We’re the offspring of witches that didn’t burn.

In the middle of the night, I pay attention to my breath to help me fall back asleep. In and Out. Out. Out.

I would still like to write a poem about the moon.

I felt something like a knot in my stomach, but it was not evidence-based.

Sometimes when I write, I gather the books of dead poets around me the way my daughter gathers her stuffed animals.

I started thinking again this is the right year to try gardening.

If it’s what the poem wanted, am I accountable?

He said that’s (not) how it happened.

After I saw the news alert on my phone, I went back to editing, moving one word here, one word there like sliding drawers in out and out of an empty bureau.

If not by the darkness, how else to see the moon?

If not by imagining the story, how else to know what’s real?

Fake news.

Fake heart.

Fake moon.

Flickering back and forth like hair and smoke.

From a distance, the fire near the freeway seemed like something out of a movie.

Receiving your note the other day, I meant to write back.

It seems like such a little thing to offer, this piece of paper.

But it never hurt anyone.


Italics connote lines from the Women’s March.

Sara Burnett‘s writing has appeared in Barrow Street,  The Cortland Review, Poet Lore, and PALABRAS: A Magazine for Chicano and Latino Literary Art among other publications. She has received fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference to support her writing. She has an M.F.A. from the University of Maryland–College Park and a MA in English Literature from the University of Vermont. 

Image by Roya Ann Miller with edits by Elle Aviv Newton.


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