Two Poems from Niagara Transnational

by Sarah Heady

Niagara Transnational

The following poems are excerpted from Sarah Heady’s book Niagara Transnational (2013, Fourteen Hills), which won the 2013 Michael Rubin Book Award in poetry. Poet Stephanie Young describes the book as “a sprawling miniature theme park of that very American 20th century, party dress covered in the same ‘algal bloom [that] overtakes concrete,’ the past as it appears in the future, singing of a smoldering ballroom, ‘funnel cake dust for the fucked,’ singing of cities that stand like rides, rusted…”


April 18, 1979

When I shop for pineapple I like to wear my scarlet hot pants.

It’s a choice. It’s my choice. One day

I’ll no longer be concerned with the taste of pineapple,

only its touch. Pain begets pain

and my heels are wondering why I’m still hunting

men. There is the forest. There the striped

green and white awning, a flipped gibberellin switch.

The cellophane noise created by breast touching

breast. A stall owner told me I needed to keep it down.

But this is LA, I screamed, and he clocked me with a papaya.



Three women spit down the crack
of a hewn rock and promise

to group-fuck at the edge.
Women are open and empty in the middle,

cocky, made for crowds.
They’ve got weathervane minds.

Because of them,
before I travel I empty

the glovebox of signs
that I was ever anywhere,

that something I saw
entered me for good.

Poet and essayist Sarah Heady writes on human geography, American history, and the built environment. She is the author of Niagara Transnational (Fourteen Hills, 2013), winner of the 2013 Michael Rubin Book Award in poetry. Her manuscript “Corduroy Road” was a finalist for the 2013 Omnidawn Poetry Chapbook Prize. Sarah is a founding member of the New Philadelphia Poets, a writing and performance collective whose work was featured at the Philly Fringe Festival, the Bowery Poetry Club, and the Kelly Writers House. In 2013 she was a writer-in-residence at Art Farm in Marquette, Nebraska. A native of New York’s Hudson Valley, Sarah currently makes her home in San Francisco.