Memory

Sarah Katz

after Charles Simic

Great was the apartment.The goat that roamed its rooms,dreamed in a bed of hay.The voices steeped in borscht,the voices that don't return.Spilled pillars of spice.I am the first child here.Seventy years have passed.The forests' arms still break my eyes.I still run with crooked fingers.I still want answers.A book of Pushkinto wear like a hat.Poland, scatter your music.I have no fingers. You'llhave to whisper it into my ears.My ears are dead.You'll have to carve it into meone number at a time.

Feature Date

Series

Selected By

Share This Poem

Print This Poem

Black-and-white headshot of Sarah Katz

Sarah Katz is the author of Country of Glass (Gallaudet University Press, May 2022). She holds an MFA in creative writing from American University. Her poems appear in Bear Review, District Lit, Hole in the Head Review, Redivider, RHINO, Right Hand Pointing, Rogue Agent, the So to Speak blog, The Shallow Ends, and Wordgathering, among others. Her essays and articles have appeared in The Atlantic, Business Insider, The Guardian, OZY, The Nation, The New York Times, The Rumpus, Scientific American, Slate, The Washington Post, and other publications. Sarah is Poetry Editor of The Deaf Poets Society, an online journal that features work by writers and artists with disabilities. 

Cover of the Book, Country of Glass

Washington, D.C.

Gallaudet University

“Sarah Katz’s poems sustain an unsettling world. Are we in a dreamscape or is the poet awake and in a constant state of confusion and unreliability? As the poems move from family and personal memory, they begin to turn towards larger and starker realities. Instead of looking and looking again in a dreamlike state, we’re looking at the brutality of Americanness and its recent history of torture and ruin. Children continue to appear throughout the poems, perhaps to ask us of our innocence and nature in the face of something unsayable. Country of Glass is a brave and evocative book of lyrics by a poet who is not only searching for something real, but who is also wondering what makes us human, and where do we find the line between tenderness and cruelty?”
—Raymond Antrobus, author of All the Names Given, Can Bears Ski?, and The Perseverance

“Sarah Katz’s debut, Country of Glass, gives us an important new voice in American poetry. She tells hard truths by using strong emotions to push the line, and by using poetic forms in service to Story. Couplets, quatrains, free verse, as well as prose poems, are engaged—not for their own sakes—but to further characters, situations, and plot. Her colors, images, and sensuality create a world we’ve never known and will not forget. Strong diction and lyric hold us close to the narrative, and that’s what we want—a good story—that’s why we’ll reread this book.”
—Grace Cavalieri, Maryland Poet Laureate

Country of Glass is a wonderful book of lyric poetry, yes. But why? Because here imagery becomes more than a poetic device: it becomes a kind of language in and of itself. The power of these poems lies in how evocative, how suggestive, playful, dangerous even, these images are. ... On these pages, narrative poems and brief lyrics, asides, dreams, commentaries, meditations, prose poems, line-breaks, civic poems, lyric reveries all meet to show us a world from a perspective that’s slightly bemused, slightly ironic even, but never wholly ironic, always there is a human emotion, human tenderness towards the world, always there is precision. Indeed, Country of Glass is a wonderful book.”
—Ilya Kaminsky, author of Dancing in Odessa and Deaf Republic

Poetry Daily Depends on You

With your support, we make reading the best contemporary poetry a treasured daily experience. Consider a contribution today.