"Be regular and orderly in your life like a bourgeois, so you can be violent and original in your work." --Gustave Flaubert
Susan Terris is co-editor of Runes
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Photo of Susan Terris by Diane Rosenblum Althoff. All rights reserved.
For more poetry
Riding The Wind
A woman is cradled in the dunes. Behind her,
fleshy fingers of ice plant and the gray-green
of granite. She draws a name in the sand,
but the wind rakes it and her untamed hair.
Time makes everything softer, harder,
and impossible to control.
The child in the dune grass says the man is kind,
though kindness is not a word the woman
would choose. Dangerous, perhaps, mercurial.
Or sad. Because the man lost his wife,
the child says, he needs the woman to kiss him,
to sit with him and hold his hand
while he falls asleep.
I never know what is true or what may be real.
Kisses are elusive as duned sand, as barbed
as wild roses. They can't be held
except as a memory and are weightless arcs
of roundness and urgency, transparent,
mythical as a centaur
galloping across fringes of evening surf.
The centaur leaves hoof marks in the sand,
reaches out with questing hands,
grazes the woman's brow with his lips,
inviting her to mount and straddle him,
to abandon the child, so they can
ride the wind together, heading toward
sunset and toward the promise
of a green flash.
At the reef, moonrakers ghost the shore
searching for treasure combed across its rocks.
Wealth is where you find it.
A hoof beat, a heartbeat, a stolen kiss.
The woman will not retrace her path.
What is lost cannot be recaptured. The wind has
stripped her but, though empty-handed,
she still remembers sweet roses she wove
into the depths of
the centaur's springy mane.