Earlier Lives by Sara Dailey


“ . . . a collection of poems that is unified and unflinching in its wisdom about death, and the  way real loss infiltrates a life, colors it, and add indelible definition to the shape of days and nights that follow that loss.”  – Deborah Keenan

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  • Kind: Perfect
  • Pages: 96
  • Language: English
  • Published: November, 2012
  • ISBN: 978-1-933675-86-2


I love the spirit in Sara Dailey’s poems: it feels at once grounded in the real world–attached to the things and people and creatures of this earth–and exploratory. Dailey goes where other poets sometimes fear to tread: poems about science, spiders, fruit flies. All sorts of seemingly unpromising subjects become strangely appealing to the reader. She is able to be heartbreakingly personal, but also wonderfully funny. I think that, finally, it is the range of her work–both emotionally and in terms of subject matter–that most impresses and delights me about Earlier Lives. Welcome to the amazing and unpredictably beautiful world of Sara Dailey!  —Jim Moore


If I Believed You Were in the Witness Protection Program

These orange flowers, bright suns of denial, wouldn’t spill
from my fingertips like fire, to twist like twin suffocating
fish on your black granite headstone.

If I believed you were in the witness protection program,
this guitar would sing to me when held as if it were a child,
smooth wood stroked; instead  plucked strings repeat
only a low discordant sobbing.

Death wouldn’t be a rattlesnake twining through my ribcage,
small traces of steel slowly rising in my spine, a handprint on
my cheek, the reflection of my own face in the mirror: nose,
crooked smile, brown eyes, no longer shared by anyone.


Sara DailySara Dailey has a B.S. in Writing from Mankato State, a M.A. in English from the University of St. Thomas, and a M.F.A. from Hamline University. Her poems and essays have appeared in journals such as Ascent, Cimarron Review, The Bitter Oleander, Whiskey Island Magazine, and FragLit, among others. In 2009 she won the Shadow Poetry chapbook competition for her manuscript The Science of Want, which was also a finalist for the Flume Press prize. She works as a teacher and editor in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Additional information

Weight 8 oz
Dimensions 9 × 6 × .25 in