Susan Grimm ~ Three Poems

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.