Friday, February 10, 2006


A few weeks back, Julia and I featured amazing poet Suzanne Coker. Today Suzanne is back with two more poems. We love Suzanne's work in part because she is not afraid to show us the dark side of the universe. AND, she never fails to inspire us to be more brave in our own writing.


Everything I could take from her
would smell like smoke. That
was the bargain. I could have
beautiful linens, dresses to diet
my way into, coats and sweaters,
but they all must be washed
and washed and still retain
the stamp of her need. Every
curtain, chair, and tablecloth
stained with exhausted menthol.
Fifty years of gasping habit, static air
brown with inhaled fear, exhaled rage.
Every lesson, every useful truth
crusted with the scent that burned
and defined her, a charring that
defies all perfume.

- Suzanne Coker

Out of Line

This glimpse turns the world to a bruise,
a child dragged by hands
that terrify her because
they are her father’s.

She had grabbed for candy
it’s true, wanted
to show mommy

not Daddy. How he hit
first, no hesitation, the red rising
behind his two days of beard,
how he pulled her arm
and bent to her, whispered
god knows what straight
into her ear, shame
collapsing her little strength,
screams gone to whimpers
as he led her away

her mother added two boxes
of candy to the checkout,
hesitated, then piled up
two of every candy from the rack
and asked for a separate ticket.

She would not
meet the cashier’s eyes,
and I would not meet hers.

- Suzanne Coker


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been that little girl. And this is an excellent poem.

7:19 PM, February 10, 2006  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home