We didn’t know we needed saving, wanted it.
We imagine handfuls of milkweed-unreachable,
dispersed. Must such be gathered back to hand?
We have been flying dark, like the godwit-flying
nine days straight to New Zealand, shutting off
alternate sides of the brain. Some trumpet blow
staggered the sun-these nine days of biblical length-
brought on this blanket of black. (They’re clubbing
the birds underneath.) Off Queensland’s coast, a cow
leaves her paddock in a hurry, swims three times
out to sea. What’s going on in that part of the world?
I was born in the fifties. That white glove never
lets you go. All but the last flexed foot can get out.
Amputate? My country had carpet. On the linoleum,
pawn, pawn, square. Some taken off the board.
I row away with the spoon. Handkerchief
still hidden in a dresser drawer-its whiteness
flags. I was born at the table. Dinnertime.
The world cartilaginous, out of joint-its meat
spoilt or hidden behind a door. Knee click.
Articulate at the juncture. Bone head and gristle white.
mouse island and the nuclear power plant line up
flat puff puff on the dark green waves
eager as pups leap at the wharf gargle
their bark in a liquid frill a slate of birds
puff puff gathers and bends like the top
of the trees rousts nests feathers bad birds
out of their leaves so much happening
on the second floor top front like a broom
on fire puff puff a dull flame the leaves squeezed
in bunches the dark smoke doused reversed
Susan Grimm is a native of Cleveland. Her poems have appeared in West Branch, Poetry East, Rattapallax, The Journal, and other publications. In 1996, she was awarded an Individual Artists Fellowship from the Ohio Arts Council. Her chapbook, Almost Home, was published by the Cleveland State University Poetry Center in 1997. In 1999, she was named Ohio Poet of the Year by the Ohio Poetry Day Association. Her book of poems, Lake Erie Blue, was published by BkMk Press in 2004. She edited Ordering the Storm: How to Put Together a Book of Poems, which was published by Cleveland State University Poetry Center in 2006.
“The swing on my front porch is my favorite place three seasons of the year. I read, watch the sky, peer out from behind the screen of my enormous rhododendron.”