Suzanne Parker


People are dying all around—
leaves at October’s end.
In transit, generic, something
to be raked, mulched;
they are just another job
requiring a Sunday afternoon.

Whole villages plowed under.
The work of identifying femur,
clavicle, mandible— the way children
pick shells from the sand,
demand to know their names.
It takes time, money, intention. 

What’s one boy's solitary fall into water
as dark as the idea of nothing?
How much splash could there be
with a boy so small losing his foothold—
not slipping, but stepping,
one foot, then a hand from the girder,
then another, out.


The body has longed for this:
to dress in slightly more fitted clothes,
take the keys, drive for many miles,
pay for gas, tolls, parking, and the $8 beer
held like an anchor against the tides.
On a bar top, a man, stripped to underwear,
varnished with sweat, moves his hips
as if pressing them into tomorrow,
wraps an arm like a caress
around his face— here,
where there are only men.
It's the thick callous
on the man's palm against
the back of the body's neck,
a place hidden as a fort
built in high, swaying branches.
They are in a bar and a man is wet
from the bucket raining down,
a hundred shatters of light
splashing the crowd's desire. His hand
moves to the open stretch of the body’s chest,
pulls it toward:  “Kiss me here.
Kiss me here and here and here
and—.  Don’t stop.  Don’t ever.”

Suzanne Parker

<em>Edit Poetry</em> Suzanne Parker

Suzanne Parker is a winner of a Kinereth Gensler Book Award, and her collection of poetry, Viral, is forthcoming from Alice James Books in Sept., 2013. Her poetry has appeared recently in Bloom, Barrow Street, Cimarron Review, Sierra Nevada Review and numerous other journals; she’s a winner of the Alice M. Sellars Award from the Academy of American Poets and was a Poetry Fellow at the Prague Summer Seminars. Suzanne’s creative non-fiction is published in the travel anthology Something to Declare by the Univ. of Wisconsin Press. Suzanne is a poetry editor at MEAD: The Journal of Literature and Libations.