Copyright 2018

Metal in My Mouth

Shawn Aveningo Sanders

metal                  the taste of
           dirty copper

in my mouth      it lingers
all those jars     full of “wheat” pennies
                                          under my bed

           collected           saved for a . . .

it’s raining again

           I’m still broke

                          and out

brush brush    and brush again
                        try another tooth


did I tell you I only have one kidney?
I have copperirontinplatinum breath

blood?              yeah, it does
sorta taste like that             sometimes


leave another voicemail after the beep

my calls          are very important
                                             (at least
           that’s what they tell me)

I have only a few pennies left
                                  for their thoughts

                                 for their

Taking Away the Pain in Georgia

Don’t worry Darlin’

this procedure is completely safe


I mostly remember his forearms


popping veins as he squeezed the syringe


the needle injected

at the base of my skull


and the burn


it burned for hours


left side of my face


for days


adrenaline surge


long enough to run 7.5 miles

and the long walk back


couldn’t even feel the cold wind

on my cheek


or a goodnight kiss from my child


on second thought

I’ll manage with the migraines—

Shawn Aveningo Sanders started out as show-me girl from Missouri and after a bit of globetrotting finally landed in Portland, Oregon. She is a widely published poet who can’t stand the taste of coconut, eats pistachios daily and loves shoes—especially red ones! ( Shawn’s work has appeared in over 120 literary journals and anthologies. She’s a Pushcart nominee (2015), Best of the Net nominee (2017), co-founder of The Poetry Box® (, managing editor for The Poeming Pigeon, and winner of the first poetry slam in Placerville, California (2012). Shawn is a proud mother of three and shares the creative life with her husband in the suburbs of Portland, Oregon.