More of Susan’s poetry in a previous issue

More poetry


Susan’s poetry online:

Blackbird Online

Blue Fifth Review

Poetry Congeries








Contributor Notes

Susan Terris

Susan Terris

Susan Terris


Leaves, like the things of man


A minus tide and a waning moon, yet no key.

On the littoral, only wrack and runes.


Touch me, Mister-here-yet-not. Hold my hand.


Yesterday, his ghost threw Sunday’s Times

in my face, a hooked pillow, bedroom slippers.


Tonight, in a false calm, I grieve, walking

a tideline strewn with gilted sand dollars.


Tonight, at Seder, I told the boys I’d destroy their

$5 Lincolns if the afikomen was not returned.


Tear them, the eight-year-old said. Burn them.

But my son warned: Don’t ever dare her.


Man-not-here is out of dares and time and memory.


I’m chilled, but the prompt to tear and burn has

has led me here in search of some key.


As the undertow seethes out and in, footprints

slick away. No good-bye to the silence


and rage of dementia. The runes say I must,

by now, know both effect and cause,


shadows of unleaving and of loss. No dawn

will peach the horizon. No green flash.


And where is the door? Or the heart?


This is only land’s end, not the end. I may yet

need to lock him out. But I have no key.


Black Widow Mutation


He was worried you’d bite off his head for putting

compost in with trash. Like the joke where


a husband asks, What have I done right? his worries

increase as his memories fray, and you must—yet again—


swallow hard. Now, the Black Widow has its appeal:

a male-muncher, freed from protective custody. Till death


do us part did not seem to imply death and death

as an endless cycle. Forget sucking out the richness of


brain matter. There’s little left. One clean bite might do.

Though it looks as if you’ve been crossed


with the silkworm genes you read about, bred

to spit a stronger thread, one not so easily broken.


In this mutant, transgenic state, you may have

forgotten how to kill and only remember to cocoon.


Fox Dream


Reynard is camouflaged by sumac, Vixen.

He is in pursuit—will take you leave you take


you. His will, his way. He will make you ache to

slink and steal, will have you skulk in meadows,


a red singe at sunrise. Fox dream will cause

your teeth and the nights to grow long, will offer


you bones promising fresh, sweet marrow,

a hidden den of your own.


But—beware the fox dream with its pounce and

sudden bite, or you will keen in the shadows,


hungry, alone, desperate to be again silent,

feral and free.



Dingo Dream


Together, we are feral, rolling in the sharp scent

of the dead, rolling and rutting and baying.


Then we rise and race until grassland and trees

blur to reels of yellow-green grosgrain.


When we’ve outstripped the pack, we seek

full-moon light, freshwater runnels,


and the thrill of a hot kill. Hunger propels—

hunger for blood and bone and pulsing life,


yet always, too, appetite for more, something

unnameable. Like all predators,


we pursue death, robust, eager, quivering,

because. . . it’s never our own deaths we see.