Sauce reduction | Come my little words
Two Poems by David Sahner

Sauce reduction

to an irresistible glaze.
The sugar that dresses
a scorpion in the pot.

That is where the flavor lives —  
between sugar and poison.
So concentrated the lines.
Fill these take-away boxes
with the syllables — the booty.

A narrator maintains
judicious distance. 
His words have not been 
neutered by precedent.

But what rectitude is there
in obtuse lines that speak
of nothing?

His extravagant diction only
makes for further obfuscation.

Outside the light cone of words
he sits in perplexity.
A voice that communicates
without speaking
shapes the hills of his thought.
So drenched in words
he can’t see the other writers
teetering on their barstools.

He knows that one day
snippets of code 
will hiss their own errant truths — 
spectral lines peeled from silicon 
among the nude equations.

No strawberries or cream necessary.
Just a mudroom
where the shapeless boots
of emotion are shed by the large
language model. 

Who steals our selves
from our eyes?
The Chatter that hides
beneath a roof of keys 
and speaks of our strange desires
that stab at nothing it can see.

Come my little words

my little mandrake roots
forked like the legs of man.
Walk onto the sugar-white leaf
of this unwritten page — 

please rise from the cradle of earth.
Or should I look elsewhere
for encouragement? 
Mundane grief inscribed
in a sycamore leaf perhaps

trodden into the indifferent dirt. 

Or harlots who were
virgins once —  
their signet rings stamped
into the wax of weak men
and women so
susceptible to bling.

An echo of dead poets
brings truth to no one
in particular.
And rules that speak naively
to no one soar upward
to their imagined relevance.

This ear of corn — 
a word in each kernel — 
knows its own power. 
Fertility rising from the fields. 

Follow the turns 
of this weathervane
toward the ruins of unwritten lines —  
veins branching across plains
of skin beneath wands
in the arboreal air.

A merlin steals cunning 
from what is natural.

Poetry (he says) lies
beneath the drowsing lilacs.
A genre of blame, Daddy.

Don’t dawdle in the alley 
of misbegotten love.
Cane the back of truth
and find remorse
in love — the ruth
the ruth!

A Jacquard loom
spins your weave.
An algebraic scheme. 
Sorghum in the fields
crosses red heads
amid the clangor 
of muffled bells.

Somewhat squiffy, are you?
Sniff out flakes of schist 
split from worlds 
by the indifferent 
hands of a clock.

The dull copper kettle
pipes its steam —

Enjoy the field.
What speaks after
the poem’s last line
says nothing — 

so naked is its ignorance.

David Sahner is a physician-scientist and poet whose poetry has appeared in journals on both sides of the Atlantic, including Tears in the Fence, Agenda, The Bitter Oleander, Connecticut Review, Catamaran, The Sandy River Review, Van Gogh’s Ear, Blue Unicorn, Blackbox Manifold and elsewhere. His book-length collection, Hum, was published in 2022, and his work has been anthologized in several multi-author collections, most recently in a release from Anhinga Press.

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