Big Bad World by Sara Sutter

Do you remember when you were born?
It was 10:30am and a gloriously sunny
St. Patrick’s Day morning. You were due

to enter the parade of elderflower cordial, fungi, French beans, garlic, Ninja Turtles.
You marched with your best friends, Spider Stacey and Cuchulainn.
You played a tin whistle and demonstrated the spirit of punk.

You were an abstract daredevil, happy
as a pot of applesauce.



Brains make applesauce, you see
when the parade is over and you stumble
into the kitchen. Femurs, dishes, trees

and a cow from the next farm—
taken by a wolf last night.
This must be a curse so there must be a spell

to break it, you think as Cinderella
in her fully-illustrated pages
bobs in a cauldron of doughnut sauce.

You and Spider Stacey make a plan
to do some Trojan Recovery Work.



You gather data, replace meerkats
and monkeys with giraffes, Six Haunted Hairdos.
You learn skylark chicks are fed

exclusively on insects and spiders (not Spider Staceys)
for the first week of life.
You learn Cuchulainn actually identifies more as Guillermo,

that he can’t be 100% wolf and save the pack
from the Christmas miracles.
You let him go.

You meet a kitty named Baba under some rocks,
but before you can love her
she moves to Red Lobster because she has fallen

in love with a chowder called PurpleInkFeather. Now Baba and PurpleInk
have a home together,
home also to a large variety of wildlife, including wolves.


Where has this data-gathering—
the next farm where is the cow you know?



The mouth of a wolf’s not the end of the world.
Maybe they keep their noses
clean for a short while, you wonder,

but no—they move forward
into the killing pen. The cow
turning sideways and you—

Did you know you did it?
Spider Stacey calls,
but the words only echo in her mind.

Someone can hate you. And not really know you.
You claim many cows
were killed by wolves.


“Oh, you look the proper sort of lass to sell cows,”
Man-Castle whispers into your hair
while Spider Stacey sleeps.

Man-Castle reminds you
of PurpleInkFeather who stole Baba away to their home together,
but you mistake your instant hatred

for love. Man-Castle describes a world
where snakes are the new milk.
In this world, playing by the rules is a good way to get yourself killed.

It was either you or them, and they were
very obedient buttons.


When you mistake your instant hatred for love, the mistake lives
like a bean someone trades a cow for
in the valley of your gut,

but you go on dating Man-Castle anyway.
When you are on the rag, he fucks you in the ass
and the pain is very much like pleasure and the other way around.

You learn Camus wrote the only serious question
in life is whether to kill yourself
or not.

Spider Stacy might move to Miami.
The only cows you know now
are either clouds or wolves.


You find yourself quite adept at going up the magnetic wall with your Iron Boots,
but it takes character to keep you there.
You fall and there comes a moment when the fall

sounds like a fife,
which reminds you of a tin whistle,
but that’s impossible; tin whistles, like cows, like Spider Stacys


You begin to think Man-Castle does not plan on growing up anytime soon.


When you leave the shrink’s place,
you feel like you’ve been fucked in the ass because you’re on the rag,
an undeniable breakthrough. You realize the more

you disallow your interest in wolves
the more you crave sugar and dream-plague yourself
with suppressed memories of cows.

All the same pill.
You wish Spider Stacey were around,
could dwell in a well.


You know you have a can of wells somewhere,
somewhere in this rubble of dietary purity
bolstered by superiority over those who eat junk food.

You loved to eat the beans

people traded for cows once.

The weather has been very a-dislike-of-Miami
or maybe it’s a-dislike-for-Miami.
Don’t drive yourself crazy over it.

River suicide waltz you resist.
It glimmers like beared arms,
carries you like a tune.


You get a high price for the beef.
Take obsession for security, stop trying to shirk it.
Two imaginary curves

that start up around the shoulders
travel down through the normal location of the breasts,
a bowl of organic brown rice with mushrooms and cilantro.

You guess you could say you’re starting over.
It doesn’t matter that it’s raining.
Nothing is full of anticipation.

Your costume looks
breathe life as well as fun
into your St. Patrick’s Day Celebration.

Sara Sutter’s first chapbook, Sirenomelia, was recently published by Poor Claudia, the chapbook imprint of OCTOPUS. Sutter’s poems are published or forthcoming in The Awl, Bayou, Fence, Windsor Review and various artisan journals.


Photo: XcBiker via Flickr Creative Commons License

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Comments 1

  1. This is fantastic. A wonderful choice for the first poem in M Review.

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