Three Poems / by Sarah Vandervennet

Rain City

I prefer Clinton Street when it is gray
when the air is flushed from foreplay
before the release of rain
when I can love everyone a little bit
and you less.

I think today I will go buy some purple lipstick
maybe in Soho, but probably at Duane Reade

I am the only one holding me back.

a woman walks by with strong arms
she wears a long dress and her head is 

                                                          the sun.

I will walk with her through the rain.
I will start fires with her in the rain.

there are no worms on the sidewalk in Manhattan,
only umbrella carcasses.






What Is Life Without Taking Naps/Last Night I Was Thin I Woke Up Fat

I want to hold in my hands the movements of a bird’s head
the movements that are like clapping in a strobe light
except without the sound to clarify 

a painted hand sweeps its ghost ink through my head
this same painted hand is a fist that is a net
that catches bees and freezes them for later 

upon their reawakening they forget all about honey
and dedicate their tempo to investigation

similarly do mirrors wish they could practice selective reflection? 

I’m wearing the perfect sweater
it’s the perfect amount of scratchy to remind me
I’m no darling. 

if I had wings I’d wrap them around me
and become sharp shoulder blades
no one will know how to address me
my back side will seem more approachable

I haven’t decided yet if they’re bat wings or bird wings
one seems more sound, the other






Cleopatra's Box of Bees

there were these
two bees
I mistook for one
huge bee 

even queens
need some
alone time
I wonder

if my fingers
will ever
surprise me again
I press them 

into the v-
shaped blade
willing the wood 

to give in
to my
but no

I need
to learn
the tactility
of restraint

to leave
the asps
to the garden
and play 

with the bees
if spring lasts
any longer

I just might 

if spring
lasts any longer
I might lose
my manners






Sarah Vandervennet recently received her MFA in Poetry at The New School and currently writes and bartends in Brooklyn. Her work has been featured in Phantom Books, Stoneboat JournalUndertow Magazine, and Electric Cereal.