Portage by Sarah Ann Winn

Portage was the runner-up of the 2014 Sundress chapbook contest.

Age fermenting us, we drive ourselves into glass bottles, like crushed apples ready for the pie. Winn’s Portage prepares us for this dance, serving us the tilt of our grandmother’s bowl-porting arms, and with each poem we remove the masquerade of complexity—she magnifies our all-too-human tendencies and sloughs away the excess, until only what we hold most dear is left. As a result, we’re marooned in taste & texture: the cold clay of our history, river-swollen language, the sweet twist of a golden apple skin around a wooden spoon. Winn’s poetry exudes warmth and the commonalities inherent in the foreign. She saws the whole into barbs of possibilities, reminding us of the comfort kitchen counters bring to the soul. And though we cool as a result of detachment—the kiln in need of fuel—Portage reveals the blaze within the mold of our two hands, the masters of catching falling things.