Stone Telling

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11:40PM

by Sara Saab


       For Tala and Kev

underground
the visionaries of cities
have built me subway stations riddled
with airholes, like tennis shoes, burrows
veneered enamel white as calcite heavens.
Built too well to churn beneath
boots and stilettos, they turn petrified
brown, plastinated,
their platforms the deep
roots of tobacco-stained tongues.

in a breeze underground, fanned by the most
beloved of automata, incoming/outgoing arrows
through a high-ceiling-heart,
I am sure the visionaries of cities have built a kind of love.
   I feel how I dip into it, a ball bearing
testing its weight on a frontier-meniscus,
tiny pleasures, my colicky temperament digging
a convalescent's forkfuls out of the big cake in my hall, and

my sphinx of a city crouched inside, both our
chests beating.

The squeal of the metro is just sauce,
and these others smiling, sauce,
now that I know my small life will bear
a great happiness.
Teardrop sighs well in my old-fashioned lungs
for the masons and welders of this place:

I give thanks to the rails
and the capsules hidden in the molars of all things built
by their hands,
ready to be crushed in desperation,
to squirt the city's pheromones against
my tongue,
even knowing it has whipped up such sacrileges
like hurricanes in the desert.


Sara Saab came wailing into the world at Al Najjar Hospital, Beirut, Lebanon, in the winter of 1984. The prime witnesses each recall a single stand-out feature of the event: her mother, the musk of hard liquor on the skin of the attending obstetrician, and her father, the worrying Klingon dent scoring the tiny nose of the ruddy and slick infant. This crease soon disappeared, but little Sara didnít. Nowadays Sara works too hard and ó embarrassingly ó aches too much in the heart whenever confronted by rock anthems or perfect sentences. Aside from dabbling in software in San Francisco, Sara is one half of the literary / visual Shuttertext Project (shuttertext.tumblr.com) and has recently had work appear in Apex, Fantasy Magazine, and Electric Velocipede.

Photography: Subway Ride, by Roey Ahram.