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Susan Grimm

Any Day Can Be a Dark Day

Up to Our Necks: The Longing of Matter

Saucer of Milk

Any Day Can Be a Dark Day

Any day can be a dark day. Your eyes are shut. You’re already dead. The gun, the knife, the glug. Your words yammering in this poem. Should we say victim not speaker. Exhale. Malice. End-stopped breath.

A quatrain has slammed up your head or a husband or a hammer or a disease. You’re dying in the basement—high windows slanted shut. The lawn mowers on the street trim your putative grave.

It’s a nature poem for a natural process. Blood on the snow. A dark shape in the water.

As there are many ways for a poem to have meaning, there are many ways to be gristle-slash-dead. Vowels are bleating. White space. Consonant snicker-snack. You’re calling out help for the last time.

Warning label: unhand that tree or that brook. Metaphorical bric-a-brac. Doggerel howl. Daffodil-cloud-longing-moon.

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Up to Our Necks: The Longing of Matter

Somewhere an egg tilted. Dad’s seeds rattling down. The stunning lyre of my DNA code. This is a message I left all over the playground, sharp edge of the slide, blunt force of the gravelly knobs.

And now code on the bathroom floor, my finger bleeding freely. Useless opener. Vicious tomato sauce can.

Bandaids with a little bloody sludge showing through. Pinpricks. A dotting of Braille.

Let’s soup it up a little. If the tiles were snow chips, the wind machine gouging my hair.

Skin flakes, footprints, volunteer plants. The crow-picked notice at Hastings’s Cutoff—westward crawl on the emigrant trail.

Three hundred years earlier: Roanoke ruins, CROATOAN carved into a tree.

Narrative is screaming. In every register. A crazy quilt of rick-rack and stitch ends. We preen ourselves on combing our hair, finding the button for the buttonhole. Our lungs a whistling clock.


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Saucer of Milk

my grandfather had ideas that were grand too            moving through the days
like his red hair burning            there was so little time            crossing the ocean                  

standing on the dirt of a new land            covered with sidewalks and filth and the shouts
of men            not birds            lumber stacked up            not trees            the smell        

of men making money            how would that burn            something
like that please            something            that could not be overlooked                  

having no thought when he changed his name that it spoke to the future            if
you had a horse            if you            wore a long coat            the need like a shiver

all over            a burn            giving the slip            ghosting his wife and at that time
seven children            so that ever after            it was women who made

their own strength             the moon like a postage stamp in the sky            a luminous motto

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Susan Grimm’s poems have been published in Poetry East, The Cincinnati Review, The Journal, and Blackbird. Her chapbook Almost Home was published in 1997. In 2004, BkMk Press published Lake Erie Blue, a full-length collection of her poems. In 2010, she won the inaugural Copper Nickel Poetry Prize. In 2011, she won the Hayden Carruth Poetry Prize and her chapbook Roughed Up by the Sun’s Mothering Tongue was published. She started blogging at The White Space Inside the Poem in 2012. In 2014, she received her second Ohio Arts Council Individual Artist Grant.

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