Open Field Identity
I was a pink angora sweater slightly allergic to myself. How
can a color not the color of my skin succeed so well in saying
flesh. I wear myself in his car, slide over on the seat. I was
the table of contents—prelude, footnote—running away
from the front of the book. Steppingstones. Plot-swaddlers.
I was a cough drop still in its wrapper. I was cold coffee
in a too big cup. At the garage sale, I was the bag of bags,
plastic and paper alike. Unused, I was thrown away at the end
of the day. I was a set of pinking shears with stainless steel
blades. Before there was cloth, I rick-racked the air. I was
an ice cube tray, a squirrel–one of them emptied and tipped.
Tree trunk cubby, horrific scrabbling at the downspout.
Spooking You Like a Horse
Ash Box. The color of her hair and skin mixed.
Did she imagine an urn. Did she imagine the lonely
green lawn with flat granite stones. Here she can
chivvy the plastic apart, press up on the lid.
It takes years, a fleet of days, the smothering
darkness of night. Drifting out crumb by crumb
as overlooked as an ant trail. The shape that is never
a ghost, can’t form a hand. Under the closet door
a mosaic of dust. Who knows how she sees
like a bat or a worm or the earth. An untwinkling
gauze, a spangle of death fading in and out
like a blister of paint. Over your shoulder. Behind.
The hinge of the world loosens and bangs, scares
the buzz out of a fly. Safe-kept as your breath
wheeze-inching in and out, she chews down a flower
with her one sharp, leaves it on the threshold to dry.
In the Twentieth Year of the Twenty-First Century
I don’t have to dream of snow for it has settled outside in its most stingy form muddying the dirt, giving the possibility of slide to every piece of concrete on the street. There’s some shading on the line, minute drifts, but nothing pure like a mantle flung over the land in its primal untouchable state. You said you’d forgotten the cancer which is what I want. The whole thing put behind. My body spitting out rowdy cells, sloughing off each wayward independence. Conformity is a goal not like those damn snowflakes with their countless patterns. Unnecessary doilies that cluster and chill. Coming from nowhere but the west wind and the north. The sky a deep mouth over the lake exhaling.
Susan Grimm has been published in Sugar House Review, The Cincinnati Review, Phoebe, and Field. Her chapbook Almost Home was published in 1997. In 2004, BkMk Press published Lake Erie Blue, a full-length collection. In 2010, she won the inaugural Copper Nickel Poetry Prize. In 2011, she won the Hayden Carruth Poetry Prize and her chapbook Roughed Up by the Sun’s Mothering Tongue was published. In 2014, she received her second Ohio Arts Council Individual Artist Grant.