I Imagine Myself in Australia by Sara Backer

I sweat in a crowded bar with lots of chairs—chairs to sit on, chairs to stand on, stunt chairs to throw against plywood walls. I’m in my thirties again, single, in tight indigo jeans and a white tank top. My hair thick again—a ponytail of auburn frizz. Australian cowboys arrive in jumbo pickups with roof lights. They look like Texans, but with worse teeth and kinder smiles. I fantasize they will teach me the two-step. I’ll become a competition dancer who double spins the turns. Which never happens. Instead, I pay twenty bucks to enter the chair-breaking contest. Cowboys shout tips—”lift high! put your back in it!”—but I only dent a leg. Why won’t my own imagination deliver what I want? A slam dunk crash against the stairs, arms and legs flying into the ceiling fan.


Sara Backer, an MFA candidate at Vermont College of Fine Arts, has two chapbooks: Scavenger Hunt (Dancing Girl Press 2018) and Bicycle Lotus (Left Fork 2015) which won the Turtle Island Poetry Award.