Monday Jul 22

PaolaSuzanne Suzanne Paola’s (Susanne Antonetta’s) most recent book, Make Me a Mother, a memoir and study of adoption, is forthcoming from W.W. Norton in winter of 2014. Awards for her poetry and prose include a New York Times Notable Book, an American Book Award, a Library Journal Best Science book of the year, a Lenore Marshall Award finalist, a Pushcart prize, and others. She is also coauthor of Tell It Slant: Creating, Refining and Publishing Creative Nonfiction. Her essays and poems have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Orion, Seneca Review and many anthologies, including Short Takes and Lyric Postmodernisms. She serves on the faculty of Western Washington University and the international faculty of the City University of Hong Kong MFA. She lives in Bellingham, Washington, with her husband and son.


Tunnel No End

It took me months to figure this one out.
Going north to Boston, on the Mass Pike driving into
a new logic. I had only been out in the bright world a few years.
Trying to learn the rules. For instance, female and young.
Two things called desirable no one really wanted to have.

For instance, why names meant nothing, when I once knew
Sudsy Pete the Junkie, Carol Slut, and on.
Now I met Jims and Joes and Cheryls
and had to understand them myself.

The hemlocks spired upward almost black   like
a Gothic kid’s book with wolves and a bad woman.

Everything on the Pike seemed equally possible.
A sleek dark tube that would be
the rest of my life.

Really it meant north, but it didn’t say that.

Beauty Food for Urban Sweetie

A dime of flame diminishes.
Mint smoke. Lungs ache for its soil.
Do they know you once begged on the street?
begged, with a hand out, all

out of drugs and cigarettes. All eyes.

Fifteen. All eyes and emptiness.
You escaped     they’ll find you.
Though you’ve spent all the cash on windowpane
acid (how could you always get it?).

When they take you back you’ll have changed the place
completely. Put faces in the walls. They don’t know. You wave your hand—
a dozen blurred hands follow.

You can scribble on the air.

Wormwood Latte: ECT

So you ran: a nurse had pinned
electrodes to your head. Brushed conducting gel
absently across your temples.
She could have been a mother with a child’s lunch.

Things in your life gather
to Monday, Wednesday, Friday: classes     gym     shock.
Grand mal seizures and the past
was not. Did you run for that lost time?

It was a hospital: no wonder they found you—
That urn they forced you to throw, still on the wheel.