Excerpts from Sam Says, Sam

Sarah Tourjee

Sam to Sam: in soil, in sand, land in love, in water gilled, swimming, weighted, dry, dried out. I roll grains of salt between my fingers. I yawp I yawp, I am the potential of an organism. I am the extinction of a species. But earth, in sphere, in space, suspended, marble spin, spin. I held your body and then, beach, beach, waterless. The salt is palpable, is wet in heaps on the beach. In the desert. Above, bird, wind holding, leading, the bird glides on air. Bird, Sam, potential bird, Sam, never bird, Sam, Sam with fingers holds the bird.

I held your body, Sam, says Sam. I am holding it for

The universe was smaller once, a dense nut of matter, all bodies embedded in Sam’s body, Sam the potential, all states of an organism, before expulsion, before definition, before lines.

I lived inside you, and touched my fingers to the lining of your body and maybe we were never divided, and pressure was without skin or separation, I felt the myelin of all neurons, and I was felt within you as a friendly filling and there were no limits to the space we could make for each other or the love we could make in the compressed atom of universes, in the pre-necessity of language, before there was air for sound.


Sam says, let your pain be alive, let it move, let it be moved. Sam, let Sam move with it. Even Earth as it was without railroads, was one great flat plain when Sam first walked the whole of it. Sam’s inverted joints revert with the globe’s great curve.

Sam lasts only the space of one second while also lingering in Sam’s thoughts. Sam exists unrelentingly as visibility itself-- an eyelash causing some distortion to view before it is dug from the lid. Don’t ask, who am I, Sam, say Sam, until Sam speaks. Say Sam, until Sam empties of all but letters and sand. Say Sam, until Sam empties of all associated worlds. Sam, say Sam, say Sam, Sam, until Sam is


Let Sam be equal to flint chert silica sandstone sediment dregs liquid volume container rail conductor sound vibration elastic contraction elision omission

Let Sam be equal to bone tissue cell membrane partition division branch bough hock fetlock pastern animal system body

Let Sam be equal to coral coelenterate sea expanse surface form physical contact condition existence

Let Sam be equal to wheel ground limit point flake tool hand end period.

Sam says, to let surfaces conduct, to end equally, to be expansive: systems contract, animals branch, sea dregs. Sam says, let limits be contact, Sam, says, let bodies be coral, let cells be sediment, Sam, says, let existence be form.


The stuff inside the netting, in the floss of tendons, is so much accumulated debris, the plaque of living, a long-legged animal panicked and caught in the tangle, causing Sam to try and fail to flee.

But Sam in stillness is finding that bones dislocate to allow a freeing, and then Sam leaving the dross of the nest with sockets jangling and limbs trailing a remembrance pattern in the soft earth behind Sam.

SAM, granite-stark the bark of trees shouts to say, SAM, claw-pointed fur cleft and feathers torn at the quick as if to say, SAM, broken-jawed if hearted the wondering brain stems like a flower towering over exposed roots and says, SAM, your pain, gap-toothed and slurring, shell-scraped and gourded, super-mooned and nerved, belongs to everyone.

Sarah Tourjee is the author of the chapbook, Ghost, published by Anomalous Press, and a manuscript titled, Sam Says, Sam. Her short fiction and prose can be found in Quarterly West, Conjunctions, H_NGM_N, PANK, Spork, Wigleaf, and elsewhere. She lives online at sarahtourjee.wordpress.com and on land in Providence, RI.