Monday, April 30, 2018

Blue Eyes

Blue eyes
that reflect the sunlight
that focus
that search
that wonder
that sparkle when you laugh.
I never thought you’d have blue eyes.

Soft lips
that imitate
that smile,
laugh in delight.
Soft lips that kiss me for being your mommy.

Warm cheeks
that rest on my shoulder when you’re tired,
that inspire laughter when I tickle them.
They are flushed from the sunshine
because you don’t want to go inside.

You are a sweet soul.
Your sweetness inspires me
and makes me aware of the 
sticky places inside my heart.
I want to be a better person.
I want to be more like you.

Blue eyes,
that see me and smile,
I don’t deserve you.
But I will love you nonetheless.
I will love you more than I love myself,
which will be easy.

Sweet soul, I can promise you
not much.
But I’ll try not to fuck you up.
And I’ll laugh with you.
And I’ll remind you when you need reminding.
And I’ll kiss you for being my baby.
And we can sit outside,
forever if you want to.


-Sarah Sanders, '18

Monday, May 21, 2012

Thamel Boys

This is an excerpt from an essay I wrote this semester called "Maila Pani." This thread is about my trip to Nepal last summer.

The sprawling city of Kathmandu looks different from the ground, in the jagged, zigzag streets and alleyways, sharp turns and corners illuminated by clouds of dust cast into the air by rickshaws and old women selling corn.
Taxi? Taxi?” 
This is what I hear as I walk back to the guest house in Thamel, the taxi driver leaning out anxiously and hitting the side of his cab. I shake my head, keep walking. We’ve learned to walk most everywhere, our farthest destination usually being Ratna Park. Otherwise, unless we venture the distance to Pashupati, we are here, in Thamel.
Thamel’s streets are slightly wider than those we cut through to go to Ratna Park, paved to accommodate pedestrians and taxi drivers delivering tourists to their guest houses. These streets are familiar, the three of us tracing our steps exactly as we walk underneath the dozens of brightly colored signs advertising restaurants, coffee shops, and shisha lounges toward a small intersection up the road where Krishna will be waiting.
Chris!” Krishna has a high raspy voice that matches his boyish smile. The rest of him is far from boyish, from the dozens of cuts lining his arms like rows of corn, to the cigarette hanging limp from his scarred, dirty hands. This is the boy Chris came back for, who stole his heart last summer when he came to Nepal for the first time. Kevin and I returned with him expecting to find different reasons for being here, but we too found our hearts connected to this street corner, and we have been here every day since. I’ve never known whether to describe Chris and Krishna as brothers, friends, or something else entirely. At times Chris’ love for Krishna is like a father’s gentle concern, at others like a dear, old friend. Chris embraces Krishna and walks with him a little ways down the road, the two friends locked in silent conversation as they go.
Ashish is at his best right now, not to be disturbed as he approaches unsuspecting tourists, asking for money. When he’s rejected by one couple he nevertheless follows them down the road, winking at Kevin and me as he passes where we’re sitting on the curb. We’ve dubbed Ashish the most dedicated street kid, foregoing shoes in order to gain sympathy even though he’s higher up in the ranks of street boys. Anil is his only superior, the leader of the group. He’s the one who sat us down and sang worship songs the first night we were here, a routine he learned from missionaries and evangelists that he now uses to get drug money.
I’m assessing the street, looking to see if little Ramesh is working today, but he doesn’t seem to be here. He usually takes a break from begging when I’m around to lay his head on my lap and rest, occasionally trying to give me a kiss. Vijay is here, glue-bag in hand, arguing with Sunil on the corner opposite us. Vijay is my favorite, a 17-year-old boy with a deep love for attention and the unfortunate commission of doing the most degrading tasks necessary for the group’s survival. This is due to his most striking feature, a series of disfiguring scars that cover parts of his body and face, making him the most vulnerable in the group, and the one with the most to prove. He comes over and gives me a gentle hug, patting me characteristically on the back.
“Hello, Shara.” He lifts my water from its place on the sidewalk and pretends to sneak away with it, mischief playing at the corners of his mouth. “Vi-jay,” I say, prompting a sudden burst of laughter from Vijay, who returns my water and sits down between Kevin and me.
“Look, Vijay,” I say, pointing to my side satchel where I’ve sewn a beaded bracelet that he gave me last week. “SUMAN,” says the bracelet. I don’t know who Suman is, and I’m sure Vijay doesn’t either, but he beams with joy when I show him where I’ve placed his gift. “Sing, sing!” he says, and we break into a chorus of “Baby” by Justin Bieber. Vijay calls Chris over to “do the rap” and Chris complies, inserting Vijay’s name into the song and causing Vijay to burst into fits of giggling as we sing “Vijay, Vijay, Vijay, ohhh...”
Kev is scanning the streets for our friend Simone, a younger street boy who only occasionally shows up in Thamel. Whenever we see him his face lights up, eyes zeroing in on Kevin before he leaps into his arms, laughing. Chris and I watch as Simone clasps his hands around Kevin’s unshaven face, now broken into a wide smile.

I'm going back to these wonderful people in December! To find out more:

Monday, April 23, 2012


I move my body unnaturally at the edges of your being,
writhing in response to your movements
and away.
I watch, hawklike, for a sign of approval
that rarely comes.
Like a dog that hasn’t learned to find food on its own,
I wait outside your house until the meager nourishment comes,
Devouring it,
and wait again.
I have got to be alone with myself,
I have got to escape your unfocused eyes!
I didn’t want to make you like this,
But it was done long ago.
You were a god before I was born—
unwittingly the center of my incapable mind—
but ultimately
I tear, rip, and break at the seams where independence meets identity,
a lover unrequited,
and it would be strange to see you do the same.
I pull at my silk chains but all they do is give me paper cuts.
I have got to be alone with myself,
have got to escape your kind, powerful eyes,
Your benevolent gaze.

-Sarah Sanders, '12

Thursday, January 26, 2012

leave the light on

“Mama, what happens when we die?
Do we disappear into darkness,
like my hand does when the sun drops behind the mountains?
Do we evaporate like mist, gently lighting on the ground where we fell?
Or do we stop existing?”
“Mama, close the door, but not
all the way. Leave a light that I can run to when the darkness tries to take me.
Turn on a little TV, so I know you’re still out there.
Leave me now, but don’t go too far.”
When the sun goes down, is the whole universe dark?
Will I be able to see when I die?
Or will I be blind, deaf, and dumb?
Entombed forever in the knowledge of my own nonexistence,
Hold my hand while I sleep so that I don’t drift away.
I don’t like waking up alone.
The chill in the room wraps around my bones and strangles me with its persistent nothingness,
Its persistent nooneness.
Empty of Someone,
It is filled with ghosts and ghouls that could chase me off this bed and into something
called Hell.
Fill my ears with sound so that nothing else can get in.
Don’t let me think on this empty space anymore, 
Don’t let me die!
For that awful Figure will come to claim this life one day, Mama, keep him at bay.
“Baby, when you were born we all stood waiting,
wanting to welcome you home.
When you came, you were crying.
But when I held you, you were safe and warm.
That’s what happens when we die.
Everyone will be waiting for you to wake up,
And when you do,
You’ll never be alone again.”

-Sarah Sanders, '12

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Cimmerian Shade

I’ve been in this Cimmerian shade too long
My heart of stone cries out for daylight’s heat
I pick the pieces up and carry on
It’s hard to say how long I have been gone
My muscles ache as I take to my feet
I’ve been in this Cimmerian shade too long
My joints are stiff where once they had been strong
They’re painful but they are not obsolete
I pick the pieces up and carry on
Before the dusk was gone I had withdrawn
Unable with this darkness to compete
I’ve been in this Cimmerian shade too long
I ache to find a cure for what is wrong
A source of light the darkness can’t deplete
I pick the pieces up and carry on
Perhaps if I can wait there’ll be a dawn
I shake the godlike guilt from my conceit
I’ve been in this Cimmerian shade too long
I pick the pieces up and carry on

-Sarah Sanders, '11

Monday, November 7, 2011


My feet have kept on walking though my body has gone dead
My limbs fall limp beside me, I cannot hold up my head
The sun beats down upon me, the mirage it makes is clear
It’s burning in my eyes and it is ringing in my ears
This path that I have tread, I can’t recall what it is named
I don’t know how I got here, I’ve forgotten why I came
My ankles long since broken, a disfigured silhouette
I walk toward the horizon and I stain the soil red
The earth cries out for water as the dust flees from the sun
It floats into my ears and looks for life, but there is none
Each step I take is muffled, and I think your voice is near
But my thoughts are screaming at me, and they’re all that I can hear
The movement automatic, I cannot seem to slow down
My footsteps have turned frantic, struggling to turn back around
I’m suddenly aware that I’ve been walking for too long
But I have long since lost the strength to say My strength is gone
I desperately remember what it’s like to see your face
I pray you’re up ahead somewhere, my feet pick up the pace
My breathing has gone heavy, and my body has gone dry
As despair dispels my energy, I cannot even cry

As consciousness creeps in, I find I’m standing very still
I think I could cry out now, but I don’t know if I will
I don’t know where I am, but I’ve a feeling I’m alone
So I sit and pray you’ll find me and you’ll carry me back home

-Sarah Sanders, '11

Friday, October 21, 2011

I Am Aware of the Darkness I Sit In.

I am standing,
face to face.
with a bright shining sun and a brilliant gleaming moon,
and your eyes, which make me uncomfortable with their kindness and warmth.
I don’t believe you.
My hands are drawn to you, grasping for your touch,
but my eyes want to turn away, shut tight for fear of seeing you cringe.
I feel your warmth radiate.
I hear your voice, full of friendship and love.
but I am illegitimate.
If I am looking into your face, I can feel myself come undone beneath the danger of loving you.
I am aware of the threat,
the terrorism that may pull me apart at any second
if I let these walls down and bare my soul.
the violence that will unfold if my passion is reciprocated,
the unfathomable destruction that will consume both of our lives
if we fall in love.
And I am aware of the darkness I sit in.
And I do not want to be its friend.
And I do not want you to leave me there.
and so I pray for violence,
and a burning light so bright I cannot help but reach out and touch it,
and be burned
and feel again