Susan Terris


Early days and the hummingbirds
are not yet at war,

gossiping one moment,
then territorial,
quick to broacast terror and lust.

They dart and weave, snatch at sweetness,
feint while we inside ask

what a short season means
and when we will find the body.

Abandoning our coffee, we cast shoes
behind us, turn three times around,

salt grains spilling down our backs.
Outside a loon cries

like a hurt child, and sorrow
sings an old song.
Father would understand, but he is gone.

The present, hot and musky,
bears the weight of winter's white secret.

In winter, footfalls cease, the hearth fire
pulses, yet wars continue.

No hummingbirds, no gossip, only ice
and arrows, snub-nosed bullets
before dawn. Yet who will witness this?

Now, as yesterday's coffee burns,
my paper tells an old, old tale.



Susan Terris' poetry books include CONTRARIWISE (Time Being Books, 2008), NATURAL DEFENSES (Marsh Hawk Press), FIRE IS FAVORABLE TO THE DREAMER (Arctos Press), POETIC LICENSE (Adastra Press), and EYE OF THE HOLOCAUST (Arctos Press). Recent work appears in The Iowa Review, Beloit Poetry Review, Field, Calyx,The Journal, Colorado Review, Volt, Prairie Schooner, Shenandoah, Denver Quarterly, and Ploughshares. On line she’s had work in Pedestal, New Works Review, Blue Fifth, and Blackbird. For seven years she was editor of RUNES, A Review Of Poetry. Now, with Ilya Kaminsky, she is poetry editor of In Posse Review. She had a poem from Field published in PUSHCART PRIZE XXXI.



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