“Mary Magdalene” (detail), oil and tempera on canvas, by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, 1598.

To What Keeps Trying

I wish death were a man in a black cloak.
At least then I’d have some company.

I shove my face into a wet pillow
and apologize, “I’m sorry, heart.”

I can’t afford applying for a pistol
permit. I’d have to check the box

about suffering and hospitals.
Who else would want a pistol?

What does it matter on a Tuesday
night? The cashier swiping boxes

of sleeping pills, her tired voice
asking, “cash or credit?”

Ride Home

I came to college
the sun with a licked


My father’s face
is a corrugated Mount

He tells me,

“The young people today
have no idea. They think the money
is so easy.”

He asks what I want
for dinner.

“Pizza, or fuck it—

and together we weave
between cars
that tighten the Throgs Neck.


Lauren Sartor is a poet whose work has been published in Black Fox Literary Magazine, Broad!, Calyx Journal, Literary Juice, The Bitchin’ Kitch, and others. Her work takes an earnest look at the conflicted, and often misrepresented, facets of ordinary livelihood. She is currently a Ph.D. student at SUNY Binghamton.