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From “Winter: Aphorisms”

From: Colorado Review
Volume 40, Number 2, Summer 2013
pp. 158-165 | 10.1353/col.2013.0054

In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

A pirate’s sword is not a cypress, but a cutlass. Can you say cutlass?

Take out your pacifier and say cutlass.

Ho-me. Ho-me. Ho-me. Ho-me. Mama, you ho-me?
I can’t hold you right now, sweetheart. Mama’s writing.


I OK. OK, sweetie. I OK. OK.

Mama, kiiih? Of course I’ll kiss you, sweetheart.

Mama? Mama? Mama? I OK. OK.

Mama? Mama? Mama? Mama? Mama?

The older one speaks. The younger
is in the threshold of words: of
consequence. The slapped cheek
when he takes his older brother’s
light saber. The crash if he walks
in front of the swing.

There are reasons to cry. Reasons to break, to be
bowled over with the loss, such as: we are living in the forest

as it dies. We watch the trucks

leave our valley each day, filled with the bodies of trees.
Harrowing relentless across earth.

And other bodies around us.
Touching one another

increasingly. Steadily to know—bodies
of all our knowing

and then of our forgetting. Our sons. Each other.

Have we loved across the inconceivable
time and distance, across bodies we are told

we cannot know.

Mama, Mateo has one of your special medicines.

Looking out of the shower: Mateo, will you put that tampon back, sweetie?


It doesn’t taste yummy.

Oh! Not yummy! He puts it back on the counter.

No, Mateo, it’s not yummy—it’s Mama’s, and it doesn’t taste yummy.

Pulls the shower curtain back: Mama it’s not yummy!

Memory drilled
into the sternum: my baby taps me there, says: Mama.
Says: nuh, nuh. He means:
nurse. He means: nurse the demanding
memory outside of oneself. He means: get

outside the house. Outside in the rain
drive yourself, Mama, in or out, Mama,

of the drive of the rain. He means: give.
He means: get. He means: unstopping.

In the middle of the night the baby smack-smacks my breast, yells NUH.
I ignore him. I roll away. He crawls over me to get again

to the breast-side, still mostly asleep, himself.

Smack-smack-NUH. Smack-smack-NUH.      We are both almost asleep again
without nursing. When from the silence he yells, mostly asleep,

NOW!! Slaps me across the face. And then we do sleep.

Holding oneself in right relation
to the gallery of living and breathing commotion: there is, perhaps, nothing

more holy to me than this snow falling at night.

Snow and my children. Or, shamelessly, the trees holding themselves
aloof from the snow-covered ground until bending, bending,

broken at it.

Sarah Vap  

Sarah Vap is the author of five collections of poetry—most recently Arco Iris (Saturnalia Books), which was named a Library Journal Book Best Book of 2012, and End of the Sentimental Journey (Noemi, 2013). She is a recipient of a 2013 National Endowment of the Arts Grant for Literature.

Copyright © 2013 Center for Literary Publishing
Project MUSE® - View Citation
Sarah Vap. "From “Winter: Aphorisms”." Colorado Review 1.2 (2013): 158-165. Project MUSE. Web. 5 Aug. 2013. <http://muse.jhu.edu/>.
Vap, S.(2013). From “Winter: Aphorisms”. Colorado Review 1(2), 158-165. Center for Literary Publishing. Retrieved August 5, 2013, from Project MUSE database.
Sarah Vap. "From “Winter: Aphorisms”." Colorado Review 1, no. 2 (2013): 158-165. http://muse.jhu.edu/ (accessed August 5, 2013).
T1 - From “Winter: Aphorisms”
A1 - Sarah Vap
JF - Colorado Review
VL - 1
IS - 2
SP - 158
EP - 165
PY - 2013
PB - Center for Literary Publishing
SN - 2325-730X
UR - http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/colorado_review/v040/40.2.vap.html
N1 - Volume 40, Number 2, Summer 2013
ER -


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