Thursday, November 8, 2012


I wrote this sestina in the spring, an homage to the Post Secret website. I liked Post Secret better five years ago. But over the years of reading other peoples' secrets, I noticed a few English teacher things: spelling and grammatical errors and a proliferation of exclamation points. So I had fun with that in the following poem, a sestina of thirty-one secrets I made up. You can read it in as many voices. 

A Sestina of Secrets

I’m afraid a fifth year of college will ruin my life.
She didn’t even know I was away.
I can’t tell my wife I took out a loan.
I can’t tell her about the boat either.
I wish my parents would stop asking. I’m not!
I don’t know what I wouldn’t do for love.

The only woman I have said “I love
you” to is my mom. My brother took his life
I can’t stop blaming myself even though it’s not
MY fault I missed his call. She wishes there was a way
for us to be together. There is: move! Either
I marry this year or I choose a life alone!

My dad lived thirty years alone,
thinking I was dead. I’m sorry. My neighbor is in love
with Christian Bale! I was told to either
get clean or leave. I left. I wish I hadn’t. My life
makes more sense to me when I am away
from home. I don’t understand the knot

in your head! Please untie it! Whether or not
your ready I’m having your baby. I used a payday loan
to buy groceries for my kids. I threw away
my roommate’s flash drives and really loved
hearing him yell about his ruined life.
Just so you know, he isn’t really that into you either.

When I was ten I decided I was going to be either
a ballerina or an actress. I’m a stage actress and cannot
afford rent. She said finding God made her life
better. I’m about to find out too! B212: Leave me alone!
My parents spent forty years of marriage in love;
I want the same but my doubts won’t go away.

Sometimes I dream of just going away,
leaving all of this for something new. Either
I am running out of secrets or I am so in love
I tell you everything! I saw the look on your face. It’s not
what you think. Please please know you aren’t alone.
This is the happiest I have ever been in my life!

My life would change too much if you go away.
I know you like me for my car but it’s better than being alone.
Let’s set the date and tie the knot, baby! I’m in love!

Sarah K Marslender April 2012


Steve said...

I am glad you signed your name. I always forget it. Now I just saw it on your blog.

Wouldn't you love to know people's secrets??

well, some people anyway I guess I should say.

Hope you are having fun doing this, because I am. You are doing good too. :)

jsmarslender said...

: ) Thanks, Steve. Not sure I want to know too many secrets. A few, sure. I think we all know a few secrets though. Most of what I've noticed in postsecret are secrets about love (the whole range of wanting, having, losing) so that's where a chunk of my sestina went. Anyway, it was a fun one to write.