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Susan Azar Porterfield – Two Poems

Porterfield profile Dec 2020

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Live Encounters Poetry & Writing, Volume One, December 2020.

Susan Azar Porterfield is the author of three books of poetry—In the Garden of Our Spines, Kibbe (Mayapple Press) and Dirt, Root, Silk, which won the Cider Press Review Editor’s Prize. Her work has appeared in The Georgia Review (finalist, Loraine Williams poetry prize), Barrow Street, Mid-American Review, North American Review, Crab Orchard Review, Nimrod, Rhino, Puerto del Sol, Poetry Ireland Review, and elsewhere.  She is the editor of Zen, Poetry, the Art of Lucien Stryk (Ohio UP) and has written on poetical subjects for Poets & Writers, The Writer’s Chronicle, and Translation Review.


When Something is Over
or The Inestimable Beauty of Not Knowing

Late October–what will happen
now?  The earth moving re-moves my focus,

each moment inviting the then and
then: Petunias nag me for drink.

I’m deaf to their pleas.
Milk on the verge spilled now (why wait?).

Novels I will not read twice.
Return texts I just won’t send.

You say,

fusty peaches may yet revive as pie,
but, confess it, Luv,

reincarnation’s rare.

Oh, to make a start . . .

A clean desk rumoring the wide open,
the naked-spirit air.

A new book humming in the hands.
Hair I’ve green-lighted to amble gray.

Seedlings I’ll swaddle in April, and well,
you know how that story begins

and ends and begins and

Illinois, Aug. 4, 2020

The expanse is dotted with small signs of previous lives.
Port of Beirut, Aug. 4, 2020, Washington Post

We fancied birds or mice could use the hair
I’d trimmed for you out on the deck, so we gathered

the strands gently, as if they might yet live,
and nested them atop the flagstone wall.

We dreamed a new life.
You as a couch for the winter to come, you

as furnace, you as crib. We imagined silk,
like seashells, small gifts in a sparrow’s beak,

treasure given unasked.

But no one came.
For months from the window, we watched

the curls unspring until they seemed to blur
into the stone, leaving a brunet tint.

How could we have forgotten?
Other plans had been made,

not ours, for bone and blood and hair
to sink back into earth.


© Susan Azar Porterfield