Susan Millar DuMars – Horatio, After

Susan Millar DuMars LE P&W February 2019

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Horatio, After  — poems by Susan Millar DuMars

Philadelphia born Susan Millar DuMars has published four collections with Salmon Poetry, the most recent of which, Bone Fire, appeared in 2016.  Bone Fire was nominated for the Forward Prize and the Michael Hartnett Prize and has been featured on Irish radio (RTE Radio’s Arena, The Poetry Programme, Lyric FM).  Susan has also published a book of short stories (Lights In the Distance, Doire Press, 2010) and is at work on a second.  She lives in Galway, Ireland where she and her husband Kevin Higgins have coordinated the acclaimed Over the Edge readings series since 2003.  Susan’s blog is called Susan Millar DuMars is Lucky.  Her next poetry collection, Naked: New and Selected Poems, will be published by Salmon in March, 2019.


He never says can you just
let me out here
but stays with you right
to the driveway turn; your journey
his, the whole tick tock of it
right to the brambly hedge, thanks
I’ll walk from here he says, just when
you’re thinking he’ll maybe
come right inside with you
give up the darkness
for the yellowy blush
of your hall

he goes his own way then
disappears between streetlights
like a misapprehension
mid-city mirage

he just folds flat
like those origami birds
that fly in your mind
when you’re facing the fire
of brake lights –
you call them intentions
but forget them the moment
you give up the darkness,
head inside.


your body is not your body
cats slope around you
politely sniff
breeze moves the backyard tree
to say sshh
sunlight shifts
bars of light warm the floor
your arms good for hugging
stuck open now
your eyes
oh your eyes

someone else will need to shut them
your thoughts fell as you fell
hit like hail
we hope you had no idea
hope you didn’t
make this happen
you can’t stop us
looking inside the body

your body is not your body
we will ask it our questions

Horatio, After                              

Absent brother, they’ve carried
away the bodies, though faces
prick the darkness
like jesting moons.

I see you, hair and whiskers
a halo, and know
I loved you,
butter-soft fool.

Do we ever leave the castles
of our childhoods?
Do we strut for newer ghosts
or always for our fathers?

Brother, we part.
The quiet compromises
of growing up are mine.

Drums and trumpets,
my forever prince, yours.

Hujar’s Subjects

cigarette tired eyes
who’d ever been abused
a child whispering
high heels found
among trash in Newark
unquiet Hudson
simmering grays
blazing white sheets
AIDS related
Second Avenue
his lover at the time
cityscape nudes
all American
who’d ever been
ravaged hustler diner waitress

who’d ever been

*phrases sourced from Peter Schjeldahl’s article, in February 5th 2018 New Yorker, about photographer Peter Hujar.

©Susan Millar DuMars