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Sample Poems by Susanna Kittredge

Summer Camp

It is the original era of my being. Who am I
I am twelve years old and my tiny freckles are scattered
around. I'm afraid of nothing, and everything. Girls
can interpret dreams, shape each others brows.

Lucy grows like a wild plant. A cactus-like
plant. She tries out her voice with considerable difficulty.
This sound disturbs and blinds us. It is
like a few shattered pines reconciling two shades
of black. She decides that we are certain
about who we are, and locks herself in clairvoyance.

There are cupcakes. Texture is key. There is no cure
for a very moist interior with a delicate crumb.
Dont laugh to my face without these thoughts.

We love how cute the right heel
or handbag in the un-tuned instruments
of our eyes and what we ignore, we say,
is our personal concerns; entrenched in our kinship
with others. We always have this choice.

Frame the beach, the ember remnants
of a campfire, escape from who others are.
They are sleeping. I go outside and into the lake.
I am tempted. The facts of life. We have groomed
each other and our every mood.

heave your beloved night time

For hours the sun has gathered momentum through its transit
across the underside of the earth and now
heaves your beloved night over the prow of horizon.

Each night is an injured thing - prickled by stars or smothered in fog -
and the injured part of you finds it sympathetic.
In sleep, you and night are of a piece.

Even now in the dawn, in your own mind you are undifferentiated
from the sheets and blankets, from the shirt that you have cast
across your eyes to trap night against them just a little longer;

but the daylight, pushing its fingers between the blind-slats,
finds you, and you are forced to pull yourself upright
and be distinct.

migratory inconvenient

My dear Revisionist,
the leaves are falling here
without fanfare, air a little crisp.
In July a fledgling band-tailed pigeon was found
knocking down trees, or rather
road crews were knocking down trees
when they stumbled
over the Federal Migratory Bird Act.

The large, chunky dove, technically
a partial migrant, loves
its well-worn paths up and down the coast.
Yours are more erratic.

Fall has come, the felling can resume,
and you have managed to knock me
flat on my back once again.
In your dove gray sweater with a stripe
around your middle, Ill call you my own
columba fasciata.

You are migratory, inconvenient,
rewriting your motives over and over,
leaving half-cut branches to dangle
between California seasons,
yellow, green, and gold.

Chopped Liver

What am I, chopped liver? A cow's or chicken's filter
spread on rye in your uncle Ira?s deli?

You say you hate knots, but what am I, then,
a Boy Scout tangling his thumbs in lengths of clothesline
for a hopeless badge?

What am I to you, a body poem? A tale, told by a bad slam girl,
full of belly and breastbone, signifying nothing?

What am I, catatonic calligraphy? The guided scrawling
of an oblivious hand turned Ouija board for a message
from your own sick psyche?

Really, what am I, a ghostly reflection? Some weak light
ricocheting between a body and a plate glass window
in a dumb fake of a haunting?

What am I, mythical? Sharing my own body
with that of horse or fish? Ancient and distorted?
Failing to exist?