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ISBN: 978-1-62557-997-3
Categories Poetry

We Are Hopelessly Small and Modern Birds

Publication Date: April 2018



AS IF A MAN SPLITS into a very old bone and dwells in
it, and when he passes that bone’s shadow it’s like nothing-
else. Then he goes to his plate and draws pictures of bitten

And we clearly like this way of doing things.

Still, we could go days without being in our bodies and
then a little man would come naked and take us up to his
fifth-floor apartment and feed us pharmacological

Those were the days before the asylum, when we sheltered
ourselves with floorboards, and I dreamt I was floating
through Kentucky, and all my birds were as unrecognizable
as the kitchen sink.

You were all burning yourselves on the outskirts of some
town, feeling very alone, and quoting the greatest historical
figures of our time.

I saw an industrial landscape and reenacted a scene from
my early childhood disembodiment: imagine a municipal
airport, an old-fashioned bird, and technology.

That was the year we were so haunted we couldn’t even
look at a modern building without hallucinating bathroom

It was fine though, to live that way.


Sara Lefsyk’s We Are Hopelessly Small and Modern Birds is a mysterious, magical, mind-disturbing collection of alternate universes (as in a series of novellas), and, at the same time, love songs to our crazy demented heart-breaking world (as in poems). Try to pin these pieces down-you can’t. Why would you want to? They’re revisionary and restless, eccentric and leapy, symmetrical and jarring, fun as hell and serious as a hot air balloon full of philosophers over the mountains of Kentucky. A delightful, original, riveting collection. Enjoy!

-Maureen Seaton

In Sara Lefsyk’s brilliant debut collection, We Are Hopelessly Small and Modern Birds, we encounter a small ward in a hospital the size of a universe, Heidigger, Kant, a small man who speaks in parables, numerous messiahs, hundreds of birds and animals, a strange doctor and his son, birds that need watering, and “pharmacological pancakes.” Sara Lefsyk is a leaping poet, a poet whose “thought-life and flight-life are united with the associative powers of the unconscious” (Robert Bly). Rooted in fairytale and parable, her poems fly from dream to dream, always waking in another dream-worlds inside worlds, the heaviest sea lighter than a feather. She writes: “Someone has to tear my body from its body”; “I had been killing the strange arms of my soul…but a man sat crying with small birds in his face”; “Finally, once again we can look and see that all the little golden lemons are hanging over our genius heads.” Paradoxes leap from the songs in this book. So many astounding poems!

-Jeff Friedman

About the Author

Sara Lefsyk

Sara Lefsyk has two previous chapbooks, the christ hairnet fish library (Dancing Girl Press) and A Small Man Looked At Me (Little Red Leaves Press).  Her work has appeared in such places as Anthem Journal, Bateau, Dear Sir, The Greensboro Review, The New Orleans Review, Phoebe and Poetrycrush among others.  She lives in Colorado where she is a baker, an assistant editor at Trio House Press and a creator of various items such as miniature handmade books.

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