Susan Falcon

Octopus Skin

A bullet wound
Father wishes he could say
It was what he called
An inopportune malady

Daughter does not recognize
Father is no longer home
No one tells her about malignancy
How cancer cells can camouflage

Circumvent the body’s defenses
On a mission to find
How he survives, then and now,
Daughter stows memories

She cannot understand his lexicon
It all sounds lovely:
Green eye and field of fire
How intonation softens caution

And her favorite, napalm
Like balsa wood, kind of flutters
Yet burns through metal, takes our skin
Napalm: How her lips come to a close


Below the elephant grass, a labyrinth to transport arms. Flechette. To be trapped underground. The goal is casualty, to remove without killing. Father learned about deception. The Blood Road. Mother in believing. Daughter practices this art by not saying anything at all. Who has agency. Has held the attention of her opponent right between. Transcription regulation. I replaced by we as if listening to an experience makes it universal. Know your code of conduct. Daughter wants the rhetoric, the how of it all. Internalization. Distance. How Father coped. Mother’s fear of allowing the world to see her in a certain way. And the world, most deceptive of all, continued as it always had.

Susan Falcon

Susan Falcon is a believer in the time space continuum and shapes young minds by freelance editing STEM textbooks. She holds an MFA from George Mason University, and her poems and prose have been published in Aperçus Quarterly, Sugar Mule, So to Speak, a blog, and others. She developed these poems in meditation of her father’s experience serving in and extensive research of the Vietnam War. She currently resides in the suburbs of Boston, Massachusetts, with her husband and two black lab rescues.