Sarah D. Lawson

Three Poems

Nine Women Poets
Volume 16:4, Fall 2015


ode to showering (with you)

praise the heat
that kisses this skin
and gives it a new shape.
my body, a thirstier beast
when wet. praise this wild
hunger my hands become.
how my love learns my curves
the way the water has always
known it.
praise the fingers that graze
inner thigh, this tea kettle
of a mouth that pulls
a kiss from my throat.
praise the walls that do not judge
the urgency of us as we rise
to this tide and you call
the air by my name.



after Patricia Smith

I am thirteen.
I am not a woman
but friends are gathered
today to celebrate that I am.

I am thirteen.
I am chanting
in a language
I do not understand,
calling it to my body,
which is still

girl body. Knows this
is a convenient excuse
for a party, to summon
my god, then dance
like a grown woman would.

I am thirteen.
I am unbecoming
my father’s daughter
with each boy’s mouth
I let into mine,
their easy tongues

a delicate new phrase
in my throat.

I am thirteen
My father weeps
as he dedicates
the morning to me.

He does not know
this language.
This conversion
of girl becoming
another song
we both pretend
to understand
the words to.


Judy Jashinsky, "Lunar Phases, October 23, 1962," from the series "13 Days & 13 Nights: The Cuban Missile Crisis," oil, acrylic and gesso, 2012.

Judy Jashinsky, “Lunar Phases, October 23, 1962,” from the series “13 Days & 13 Nights: The Cuban Missile Crisis,” oil, acrylic and gesso, 2012.

synonyms for pleasure

The wreckage of gushing mango
left in my fingers, whose muscles
I slurp in one whole bite. The smell
of wood burning, pathless, crackling
slashes of silence when bare feet hit old
wooden floors in nearly empty rooms,
instruments tuning up in orchestra pits.
Your smile humming across my screen
a pixilated comfort of the distance
between us, your voice that guides
my hands to be your hands, the touch
of your almost body.


Sarah D. Lawson is a DC-based queer writer whose poems are rooted in self, exploring themes of body, love, sexuality and gender. Her work has been featured on Button Poetry and Everyday Feminism, and published by Write Bloody Publishing, FreezeRay Press, and Drunk In A Midnight Choir. She is the founder of the Beltway Poetry Slam in Washington, DC and served as the slam master from 2010-2015. She represented DC on the 2012 Treat Yo Self team at the Southern Fried Poetry Slam, competed at the 2015 Women of the World Poetry Slam, and was the coach of the Madeira High School Louder Than A Bomb team from 2012-2015.