National Poetry Month Spotlight: Sam Sax

Welcome to National Poetry Month, 2015! We’re celebrating all month long. Each day we will bring you a poem we love–a selection from one of our published or forthcoming collections. In turn, the featured poets will introduce poems they love. Happy April!
Today’s featured poet is Sam Sax, winner of the Spring 2014 Black River Chapbook Competition.
the boy detective in the big game
he braids grass in the outfield. flat green strands
of hair. the earth, a woman’s skull in need of caring,
he cares for her. hospice outside the diamond.
grecian, double, french, reverse. runs his hands
through the dirt and feels her release beneath him.
takes off his metal cleats to a sigh. the boys know
when the ball’s hit left center everyone’s going home.
if only coach took him off the field in his arms,
let him make the calls, or held him under water.
black paint on the cheekbones, hands huge
and leather, eyes narrowed into a chain link fence.
if only the boy were born an olympian or man
or better kind of boy. at home he grips his bat
with both hands, swings until the lights black out.
Sam has chosen to introduce “Katherine with the Lazy Eye. Short. And not a good poet.” by Francine J. Harris.
He says: This poem rolled around in my skull all summer and refused to leave, it was a reading experience whose haunt i couldn’t shake.
1781302_10153792238860220_122246262_nsam sax is an NEA Fellow and a Fellow at The Michener Center for Writers where he’s the associate poetry editor at Bat City Review. He’s the two time Bay Area Unified Grand Slam Champion + author of the chapbooks, A Guide to Undressing Your Monsters + sad boy / detective (Winner of the Black Lawrence’s 2014 Black River Chapbook Competition). His poems are forthcoming in Boston Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Paris-American, Indiana Review, Normal School, Rattle, Salt Hill + other journals.
Photo credit: Hieu Minh Nguyen