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Saretta Morgan

Saretta Morgan is the author of Plan Upon Arrival, forthcoming from Selva Oscura/Three Count Pour in 2020, and Feeling Upon Arrival (Ugly Duckling Press, 2018), among other books. She teaches poetry at Arizona State University and lives in Phoenix, Arizona.

By This Poet


from "Plan Upon Arrival"

7. Letters arrived in intervals, as with everything else one might come, one might not regardless of whether there’d been a response. We prepared at all times. Bent over. We dreamed things would be different. Every time the door opened we each smiled in a way to make clear we’d never seen our own face. 

8. An appendix washed up, pages current-smoothed, leaning funny. We stood and watched the skin stretched and sewn. The so-called imaginary, so-called interior, so-called paradoxical private sphere. 

13. Dailiness was the anxiety through which we waited. Buttons undone, like clearance. Not what we wanted but what we didn’t know we had to have. Private acts to attempt in public. Productive relationships to sites of violence. Lace-fronts. A dollar to run to the store. 

19. However useful, the language was degrading, incompatible and lacked necessary verbs. The ability to compress, overflow and alter the landscape through a low swollen hum. To smell strongly in the morning, at the grocery or over the phone. 

24. There were moments we were incapable of decision. An opening through which to register an image pungent through its own material law. A body pulled inward, door unlocked. Irresponsible to. That this moment would return. Return us. That this, and only this, would be the day. 

[excerpt from] Alt-Nature

In 1990 over 700 Cyprinella formosa, commonly known as Beautiful shiners, were expatriated from Mexico to southeast Arizona where the small fish, their flat metallic bodies colorful in love-making, were eradicated in the 60’s through water diversion and over-pumping of underground streams.

Very little is known of their reproduction, except desire for lush riparian communities, warm vegetation to hide their bulbous young.


Relocation arrives through many terms. Sentence, reservation, subject, dam. From New Mexico the Gila River spills west, pools behind Coolidge Dam beneath which San Carlos Apache graves are concealed by a concrete slab. A sentence opens lines for a subject, physical, it predicates. Building foundations soften into water-logged records where the trout swim low, warming.


Gila River Indian Community grew most dense in the early 1940’s against the tribe’s will as incarcerated Japanese and Japanese Americans were forced to barrack blocks by the hundreds.

There is little evidence of idleness, printed the Phoenix Republic in 1942. Tangible myths of the model incarcerated confirmed their confinement wholly productive. Families made model citizens, if one can be made citizen, by utility filled with their lungs.

What of the mega-annum shell sculpted birds.

The first arrived in July to dust waves. The straw sleep sacks they filled with their hands.