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Susan Terris

What Has Been Lost:

Star-wishes, the courage to step on a crack.
How to speak with innocence,
wait at someone's feet, follow deer through brush.
To apologize and mean it.
Baby teeth in the silk pouch,
the scientist who wrote his own obituary,
Father and his father, the delicate touch of a fingertip,
the diamond pin, the right breast.
Map to the territory of the unlived life.
Art of paddling whitewater or staunching blood.
How to guide a marionette, rub sticks for fire.
How to make one kiss matter.
The range of freedom. What the golden eagle might tell
about pursuit and betrayal.
The day foxes come from their dens
and salamanders from under their rocks.
Dream of rising from bed to fly alone through night cirrus,
greedy and heedless.
The fugitive pieces to the puzzle of the self.
The sexual jolt of the earthquake and its aftershocks.
How to decode other voices of the wild
whispering from marsh and river and sea.
All this relinquished, bargaining, bargaining,
bargaining again for ease instead of edge.

Singita: Artful Matter

What she loved was who she was
when she was with him.
What he loved was the game,
himself pursuing her. For them,
a serpentless Eden in a sealed globe
where palm and sand and water,
turtle and butterfly,
intermingle when inverted.
All that matters, he said, as he cradled the globe
till it opened by itself and a river flowed out
with whitecaps curled and pulsing
like those in a Hokusai print, is artful matter.
But the river could not be recalled.
Turtle was more than a shell,
butterfly more than a wing,
fruit was less than the tree,
and the globe had a price tag on it.
Sometimes when logic is lost,
agitation makes summer sand sting
like white-barbed flakes of snow.

North By Northwest

He has what he calls momentary control
While we ride wind rivers,
Currents cresting and then dipping,
Poised, almost becalmed, then elevated.
Voices thin, a world in silhouette,
His yellow-green balloon doubled
By water glazed with cottonwood.
Above, a falling moon and climbing sun.
Below, peccaries zig-zagging paths
As his chase crew closes in. Like him, I know
Rivers of wind, am buffeted north
By northwest, being chaste, and each day
Seeking the stun of momentary control. _________________________________