FALL 2011

Susan Terris


                                    –Cause & Effect
Because cumulous has swabbed the sky,
No constellations pinprick the dome of night.

Yesterday's ghost sits in the dark looking for
Fireflies that don’t spark here any more.

He wants me to ponder the breast lost, then
Reconstructed, and the man who said flesh,

Even scarred, was good. Counterclockwise
Or in mirrors it looks soft, real. Good effect/

Sweet clause. I bargained here, thought I'd won.
Still, he looked and looked yet never touched.

                                          –Effect & Cause
The whitest lies and the blackest ones:
All the unstated bargains, but I would not

Plead. The effect was coriolus—the whirlpool
Of them turning backwards, that pause,

Silence, vibrato, a whole concert of evasive
Violins and calculations. The ghost frowned

And said, I told you so. Yes, and each time I start
From a dream, I need gauze to bandage wounds.

That young woman with full breasts, two firm

Nipples to suck. Well. . . how could he resist?


Susan Terris’ books include THE HOMELESSNESS OF SELF, CONTRARIWISE, and FIRE IS FAVORABLE TO THE DREAMER. Her work has appeared in many journals, includingThe Southern Review, The Journal, and Ploughshares. A poem of hers appeared in Pushcart Prize XXXI. She is the editor of Spillway Magazine and poetry editor of In Posse Review and of Pedestal.



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