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Sam Bailey

“For me, writing is a devotional exercise–a way of recognizing little things as big things; recognizing that which makes my life good.” ~Sam Bailey

Sam was raised in rural Pennsylvania. He holds a BA in English and religion from Oberlin College, and is currently a Master of Divinity candidate at the Harvard Divinity School. His poems have appeared in various literary magazines.


The fat rock in the corner of my lawn
has two little dents  

like sleep-squeezed eyes
right in the middle of its belly. 

I am walking toward it like some humble 
movie-star, my left handing hiding 

like a pet mouse in my pocket
and my chin tugged down. 

The dried leaves beneath me are brittle 
as Pringles. I hear them crunch. 

It’s windy. I’m almost back in the roaring fields
of Cleveland, where my Toyota

would get blown left and right as I struggled
down the highway to the lake. 

I am two or three feet 
now in front of you, rock. Looking hard.

Inspecting your tough gray wrinkles. 

Could you quit, please, acting 
like we both aren’t here? Like we both

aren’t plopped in this neighborhood 
where the dirt’s cut up like brownies in a pan.

Like we aren’t on this ground 
that they deemed Massachusetts and later

Union Lane. Don’t think I’ll stop

working my toe through the worn grass,
or my tongue on the roof of this mouth. 

Or that I make up the miracles. Or that 
I’ll leave my forearms to the whims

of my elbows. No––
I reach towards you and do so with faith. 

My hands are like a zookeeper’s
touching an elephant’s skin.      

My palms on you made 
of the pink stuff of just-borns.

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