Grounding / Sarah Pross



poems by

Sarah Pross

ISBN: 978-1-59948-875-2, 40 pages, $12 (+ shipping)

Release Date: April 19, 2021

The Advance Sale Discount price expired on March 30. For those who prefer to pay by check, the price is $16/book (which includes shipping and sales tax) and should be sent to: Main Street Rag, PO BOX 690100, Charlotte, NC 28227-7001. 


Sarah Pross was born, raised, and still resides in Seymour, Tennessee and shares her home with a puppy named Charley. She has a B.A. in English Literature from Maryville College, where she graduated in 2007. Her poetry has appeared in Bloodroot, Kakalak, and Cathexis Northwest.

For Sarah Pross, the mountains of Appalachia are more than home—they are history and future, bone and blood, the place where her family lives above the ground and rests beneath it. In Grounding, Pross’s straightforward voice praises the good while gently recalling the not-so-good, such as a grandmother’s five-day-old food. In poem after poem, Pross’s words serve up “comfort food for the sad // and lonely soul. Memory food.”

~Connie Jordan Green,
author of Slow Children Playing and Regret Comes to Tea (Finishing Line Press); Household Inventory, Winner of the Brick Road Poetry Prize; and Darwin’s Breath (Iris Press).



“I love words, the feel/of them in my mouth” writes Sarah Pross in her debut chapbook, Grounding. Pross shares her rooted landscape in the Southern Appalachian Mountains in these poems, formed from “a bundle of the unwritten/wrapped in human skin” about nature, ancestors, and faith, recollections from her “dead people box” that are all very much alive. With her firm promise that she is “not the leaver,” Pross establishes herself as a talented emerging poet.

~Sue Weaver Dunlap,
author of The Story Tender and Knead


We escaped
the darkness of the barn.

~Bill Brown


Holes in the roof show
full moon hanging over rusted tin
in the first blue sky in weeks.
A warm February day,
daffodils blooming too early,
and we are bent on destruction.
Boards weathered gray by sun
and rain and time break free
as rusty nails give way easy
under our gloved hands.
We are history wreckers,
tear down a barn that has stood
a hundred years, demolish
childhood hayloft jumps,
level lovers’ stolen kisses,
raze square bale storage, first
tractor parking, soft hiding place
from hot summer sun. We work
until it is gone, nothing
but piles of wood split
by worth, nothing
but memories
and a wet weather spring.



Sunday Mass


Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you

second pew, on the left,
an old woman nimbly fingers
her way through the rosary.

blessed are you among women

well-loved beads slide
through her hands; she kneels,
back straight and strong.

and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus

true believer, intentions pure
she prays for her loved ones,
meditates today’s Mysteries.

Holy Mary, mother of God

taught her children and theirs
these same prayers, helped form
tiny fingers to chain and beads.

pray for us sinners

knows the Mass like she knows
the beads and knows the truth
behind the blood.

now and at the hour of our death

true believer, intentions pure,
well-loved beads slide
through her hands.






Just a bowl, wooden, hand-turned,
cherry, sanded and oiled to vibrant finish.
Useless really, no good for cereal or soup,
not for chili or salad. It has been relegated
to the top of my dresser, holds the residual
clutter of womanhood. Earrings and rings—
flashes of silver and emerald—mixed
into the detritus of my everyday life:
ponytail holders, sunglasses, keys I forgot
to leave in my purse, my lighter, his dog tags.
Just a bowl he thought nothing of making, a retired
afternoon activity, new hobby for an old man.





Gray clouds hang heavy over the ridge, almost hide scars of the burning.
Turkeys wander the yard, fan out, search for food not thrown today.
Cardinals light up trees just waking from winter sleep. I plant
bare feet in cool grass, take deep breath of early spring,
ground myself here. Roots stretch deep, flare wide,
grow thick, tangled, impossible to tear out.

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