poem index

sign up to receive a new poem-a-day in your inbox

poetic forms

About this poet

Susan Rich is the author of Cloud Pharmacy (White Pine Press, 2014). She teaches at Highline College and lives in Seattle, Washington.

To the New Journal

 
after W. S. Merwin
 
 
Let’s just listen—  
 
before the spent words and the hidden nests
of sentences begin, before the musical count
 
of vowels and consonants, the ink
 
not yet slippery with wild grief
or souped-up grandeur.
 
I wish to arrange you—
 
with a few half-formed couplets—
inquiries without answers.
 
But what can we do? These mountains are still
 
young and rising, I write. Yet,
even the fields call to an orchestra of stars.
 
Even the birds sing to-do lists.

Copyright © 2018 Susan Rich. Used with permission of the author. This poem originally appeared in The Southern Review, Summer 2018.

Copyright © 2018 Susan Rich. Used with permission of the author. This poem originally appeared in The Southern Review, Summer 2018.

Susan Rich

Susan Rich

Susan Rich is the author of Cloud Pharmacy (White Pine Press, 2014).

by this poet

poem
That night the air stank, the stars obscured behind wild horses
of clouds. I walked on cobblestones on the edge of something

I could not name: new land of unalterable decisions
like a retinue of assassins coming right for me, who kept coming

in a bad dream that dissolved like a black-
2
poem

Outside my window it’s never the same—
some mornings jasmine slaps the house, some mornings sorrow.

There is a word I overheard today, meaning lost
not on a career path or across a floating bridge:

Boketto—to stare out windows without purpose.
Don’t laugh; it’s been too long since we

2