Sarah Stickney: Be Ready to Leave
Joshua Newton

Joshua Newton

How To Let Athens Burn


Be ready to leave. Teach

the self to ford the stream

and not look down. Down

fell Eurydice. Down fell

Persephone. Down fell Dido

in flames. I say flaneuse

you say lazy. You say placate,

I say crazy. It will take

a refiner's fire. At times,

too unsteady even

for coffee, you must place

the self in a sheath. Release

when desperate. Be ready

to breathe the night

completely. Be as dead

as the star –

as shining. Your future.

The vault above as blue

as any flame. Is it guilt

or release you feel just before

sleep? A lever. A meeting

with morning like

an empty beach.

Sarah Stickney is a former Fulbright Grantee for the translation of Italian poetry. Her co-translations of Elisa Biagini's selected poems, The Guest in the Wood, won the Best Translated Book Award for poetry in 2014. Her own poems have appeared in journals such as Rhino, The Portland Review, Mudlark, Bateau, B O D Y, and others. Her manuscript "Portico" was selected by Thomas Lux as the 2016 winner of Emrys Press's annual chapbook competition. She holds an MFA in poetry from the University of New Hampshire, and lives in Baltimore.