Sarah D. Lawson

Two Poems

Volume 17:4, Fall 2016 
Slam Issue


Anne Frank Offers Justin Bieber A Lesson In Humility

In April 2013, pop singer Justin Bieber visited the home of Anne Frank.
In the guest book he wrote “she was a really great girl. I hope she would
have been a Belieber.”

If there is a God worth praying to
that lives in someone’s skin,
I have already found her
inside of me.
I don’t need
your wind-up toy
to pray to.
I am the girl
inside the music box,
the only ballerina
who pulled a dance
from her own captivity
and painted the walls with it.

Don’t enter my home
and demand it care
about your name.
I’ve already plucked a tune
from the gaping wound
of each crack in the paint,
sang a lullaby to the rhythm
of the soldier’s boots pacing outside.

One night before bed
I gathered all the air inside my lungs.
When I woke up still breathing,
I named this moment my symphony.

Great girl might be legacy
enough for you
but nobody wanted this girl
sitting next to them in school.
Nobody wanted to write about
what it’s like to become girl.
Nobody wanted to keep me
quiet in their cupboard,
nobody wanted my hands
to hold their children’s hands,
but now everybody wants
a piece of my bones.



Hanukkah Bush

My hanukkah bush celebrates the freedom of my people and the defeat of men.
My hanukkah bush doesn’t so much like men.
My hanukkah bush does not need ornaments.
My hanukkah bush already tinsel as shit.
My hanukkah bush says amen before she prays.
My hanukkah bush knows the Hebrew words for bitch, get free.
My hanukkah bush quotes Roxane Gay and Taylor Swift in the same breath.
My hanukkah bush knows every song from Pitch Perfect.
My hanukkah bush’s theme song is Beyonce’s Countdown.
My hanukkah bush, flawless.
My hanukkah bush is sometimes perfectly trimmed
other times perfectly wild and you will deal with it.
My hanukkah bush is not here for your entertainment.
My hanukkah bush is its own gift.
My hanukkah bush can warm the planet for eight whole nights.
My hanukkah bush is on fire
but never consumed by the flames.
My hanukkah bush is holy.
My hanukkah bush speaks to g-d,
is g-d, makes people scream for g-d.
My hanukkah bush thinks your face is real, real cute
If you lean in close, she might just sing you a prayer.


“Anne Frank Offers Justin Bieber A Lesson In Humility” originally appeared in Again I Wait For This To Pull Apart, edited by Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib (FreezeRay Press, 2015).

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.