Sarah Natalie Webster

Still Life

Your poetry is an empty room. Your poetry is portrait photography against a stark white background. Your poetry is excessively ergonomic android software. Your poetry is literary late twentieth century male American prose style. Your poetry, so simple! So aesthetic! So abstract! So symbolic! Your poetry is civilized. Your poetry is a slide show of exotic foreign horrors presented with dispassionate academic distance on an outsized projection screen in a brand new auditorium with cushioned seats and gum-less, graffiti-less Formica tray tables. In your poetry you’ve trimmed the crusts. You’ve sieved the silt. You’ve filtered the wheat, (and the chaff). You’ve cut away the grammatical fat; the adverbs, the adjectives, the articles. Your floor is as clean and as white as paper. Your couplets of shelves, concisely uncluttered. You catch moments, you catch images. You percolate these into a Mondrian of phonetically balanced lines intersecting each other politely, red first, then blue, then yellow. People pay you to reduce the world’s parts. They want to sit inside your minimalist room for one myopic moment and breathe the orderly air while you, the host, with your magic game-show-conveyer-belt, you show them a red tea pot set in Minion, a Bodoni bird on a wire, a leafless Garamond tree. There is never any Times New Roman. There is never any Ariel. You keep the dust off your cups, but have you checked beneath for grime, like that found on the sole of a shoe? By the way, have you noticed the white door of your closet is starting to crack? And what about that aleph under your stairs? You know it’s there, stop ignoring it. Poet you should pay more attention. Did you know that everywhere outside this spotless room of yours the aporia is leaning its infinite weight? Right now it’s pressing down on your ceiling, disrupting the spirit level of your well balanced floor. I’m just telling you this as kind of service announcement because one day without knocking it will all come crashing in, through every crack, every crevice, every cleft, every fissure, everywhere, but the door.



By Sarah Natalie Webster

seems unable to finish a sentence which begins with her full name, and has decided in general not to comment, except to say that she was born in Auckland, NZ, and is currently living in San Francisco. Her work appears in Minarets, and Quiet Lightning (USA). For the customary biographical quirk; her boyfriend would to add that she drives like a spy.