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Sandra Beasley

Sandra Beasley is the author of Count the Waves (Norton, 2015); I Was the Jukebox (Norton, 2010), winner of the Barnard Women Poets Prize; Theories of Falling (New Issues, 2008); and the disability memoir Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales from an Allergic Life (Crown, 2011). She is the editor of Vinegar and Char: Verse from the Southern Foodways Alliance (Georgia, 2018). She lives in Washington, DC, and teaches with the University of Tampa low-residency MFA program.  


Illustration by Melinda Josie

Calculated Risks

Winter 2018 | Essays

After chatting about his child’s food allergies for ten minutes, that distinctive ache has stirred at the back of my throat. Yet I say nothing. The restaurant manager has been kind. He prides himself on taking care of customers like me. Because a reaction often begins with swallowing—repeated, reflexive—I drain a glass of water and finish my wine. Vegan cuisine conveniently avoids dairy and egg, beef and shrimp, but steers me smack into the path of cucumbers, mango, tofu, tree nuts. The sauce I thought was tahini might be cashew butter. I put the wrap down and take a Benadryl. I take another Benadryl a minute later. I leave most of the second sauvignon blanc on the table and tip big.

The Circus

Summer 2013 | Poetry

In the halls of Pigalle, juxtaposition is not intimacy. 
Moulin Rouge Moulin Rouge Moulin
Red—Louise the Glutton spread high in her kick,