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poetry

EVERYTHING SUNDAY BACKYARD
by
Susan Moorhead

How is it the morning light slanting

just so through the filtering boughs

makes even the white plastic chair by

the childrenís pool yet another thing praised

by the cicadasí hymnal? Broader afternoon

light palms the flat of the lawn, each leaf


has its moment to shine, concentrated

in the sunís attention. You putter, pull weeds,

grouse at gnawed plants you laid in just last week,

teeth marks like calling cards from elusive

rabbits. Debate whether to defrost chicken

or chops for the eveningís bar-b-que as light


shifts, stripes the yard with long shadows. Bees

ribbon the air, loop over tender blossoms sighing

into first drooping folds, small birds hold

a long note, harmonize with rusted sounds,

crows in the crooks of a staggered, leafless

tree you keep meaning to pull down.



PLATITUDES FROM HELL
by
Susan Moorhead

It will not be all right.

You will never be the same.

You will think about him/her/them/it every day.

“It could never happen to me” will be dropped

from your personal phrasebook.

I’ll be there for you until you get too weird

and make me feel uncomfortable.

At least you have your (physical, if not mental

or emotional) health.

Time does not heal all wounds.

God only gives you what you can handle.

I’m sure you did everything you could.

Do you have a sense of closure yet?

There is medication for this, you know.



REMEMBRANCE
by
Susan Moorhead

The night ghost in the hallway jangles

at the edges of things, tacks into the sharp

corners, tense and angular with old fevers

and ribs of grief, darkening the motes of the air.


The dog lifts her head off the bed, alert.

Questions the shifts of shadows, squints

at the altering of the room she guards, a growl

in her throat as I read poems aloud in bed.


The walls warm up to the curl of my tongue

and light reaches into each corner, casting

a fret of lacy shadows through a spider web,

and the dog eases her head down.


The night ghost remembers the word

dandelion and what yellow felt like,

and how the world used to open

wide like a summer day,

slow and sweet and round.



UNDERTOW
by
Susan Moorhead

The whole day has been like this, a freewheeling

anxiety like moths fluttering in a jar. The dogs,

a cacophony of barking, need to go out, another


thing I must do on the endless daily list. Clipping

their collars to the long leads, I resent the walk

at the start as I always do, the inevitable tangle


of leashes, the jerking pulls and sudden stops,

until I re-master the marionette maneuvers

of two dogs, two leashes, two arms, until I get


the rhythm down. The little dog casts back

his furry grin to share this joy with me, this sheer

pleasure of the cool autumn air, the trees starting


to color, and I feel something loosening as I smile

back, give myself over to the moment with them.

We pass the yard of the woman who nods reluctant


hellos, the old manís hedge, and it breaks, this

rogue wave, taking the green and the light, and air

in its wake. Three months since you died, and yet


here are the dogs, the day, and my feet stumbling

with the knowledge that I do not know how to navigate

my life without the constant of you being in it.



OUR CONVERSATION
by
Susan Moorhead

Over coffee cups and tea mugs,

the clatter of dishes on so many different

table tops. Riding the rising swirl

of a thousand cigarettes, wading through

the bleary puddles of a nightís last glass

of wine. How many words have I

spoken to you, and you to me

for some thirty-odd years?


Itís not where we are, some diner,

the joke of the plastic menu

six pages long, or what we say, but

the familiar laughter, patter and rhythm

of your voice mixed with mine

that will leave a long pleasure

on the ride home, the days after.



Susan Moorhead is a poet, writer, and children's librarian, which she finds to be a good combination. She lives in Westchester County, NY. Her work has appeared in a variety of places including The Comstock Review, Goblin Fruit, Whetstone, Bayou, Earth's Daughters, and Brain, Child. She has a children's picture book forthcoming with E.P. Dutton. Her blog, Sun Pours Down Like Honey can be found at http://sunpoursdownlikehoney.blogspot.com .

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