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Sample Poems by Suzette Bishop

Postcard from My Vacated Poet Self

You wouldn't believe the fog here-
a waterfall
of mists pouring into crevices,
bubbling back up,
palm trees rising from volcanic rock,
bent over, their hair trailing.
Not sure I'll be returning-


Desert Shapeshifting

Laredo, Texas

Proteus easily becomes anything here,
clear-imaged for a moment
then he is the killdeer sounding like a sneaker
squeaking outside my bedroom
or making indecipherable grackle cries
like high-pitched electronic codes.
His lantern flashing, he's looking
for Medusa, cursing at my door, again,
then turning into a small lizard,
a wildcat, an ocelot or bobcat,
its coat like a taffeta gown under moonlight.
I can only change form by changing
clothes, slipping lingerie over my head,
or by revising my memoir,
hand-doing these costume changes, uprooted
and pretending to be something desert wild.

New Horizons

Trees, or even the idea of trees,
were no longer familiar
when I returned to the Northeast for a visit,
there was only the feeling of being small
among the legs of tall strangers.
I have come to know
the sky and horizon they hide, better,
the shadows of clouds, deep blue lakes
from a heatwave distance,
and prickly pear cactus,
palms running along the low hills of mesquite,
their punk haircuts
against the light show
of another border sunset.

April Bypass

Taking you in an ambulance across town
from one hospital to the other,
no siren,
I follow in our car.
The attendants lift you out gently
and keep the oxygen tank nearby,
just in case,
as they wheel you down the hall.
Lugging the heavy vase of poppies
someone sent you
to the cardiac waiting room
where large extended families wait
for their loved ones,
just me and the flowers wait for you,
one hour folding into the next
like orange petals.
But you don't know about the passing time,
and your heart isn't keeping time
once they have to stop it.
Keeping watch, the machines monitor you
in Intensive Care,
a nurse hovering from one monitor
to the other,
your skin yellow.
The flowers would be dangerous for you, now,
as you come back.
I leave them at the nurses' station
outside your room.
Bypassing seven arteries,
the flowers and I see
Desert Sumac branches,
their smooth blood flow,
their steady breathing.