How To Break Your Own Heart | Sarah T. Jewell

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Sarah T. Jewell is a Jersey City Writers moderator and founder of the weekly Jersey Plums Poetry Workshop. She has been previously published in Bird’s Thumb, Halfway Down the Stairs, Cross Poetry Review, and elsewhere. Her poem “A Prayer for Provenance” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2015 by the editors of Bird's Thumb. She has read her poetry at the Cornelia Street Cafe, the New York Public Library, and various venues in Jersey City. She was selected to participate in a writers' conference known as The Writer’s Hotel in June 2016. She has studied poetry extensively under the guidance of Elaine Sexton since June 2014. She posts weekly poetry prompts on her website at


Fire, Stone, Water

Bright, divisive: I flame
toward my mother afraid
to singe her. Slow down,
she soothes, one hand
in blue, the other in red.
She darkens against my
tongues. How does heat
warp? Parts of her curl under,
paper repelling the parts of me
that take over. The flesh
becomes ash becomes dust.
I forget to sweep her into a cup.

I walk along dirt paths, dusty
and dry. A girl scout, I hold
a magnifying glass against
a brown leaf to ignite it, making
a fire in the forest. I can see
mother’s dark limbs reach up
from the leaves, a tree trading
its bones to become stone, and so
the fire dies and the stone stands
and the water wears away her name.