Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Trajectory of the Traveling Susan

Trajectory of the traveling Susan 
by Marge Piercy

Round Susan, somewhere Susan,
Susan with suitcase and Berlitz book and stuffed shoulderbag
flies in the air sitting down.
Your spices are waiting under the falling dust.
Strange pussies are sticking their paws under the door.
Gottlieb sits in a corner with his head loose in his hands
and plays at poking out his eyes.
The ceilings are blackboards he has scrawled with
hieroglyphics.
The mailman fills the box up with nothing.

Quail Susan, pheasant Susan
riding an aluminum paperclip
between the cold stars and the jellyfish,
remember us in the broken net,
come back to the wooly strands of the caring web
stuck between jammed weeks and waiting testily.
Each love is singular.
The strands hang loose.

Apricot Susan, applesauce Susan
stuck up in the sky like a painted angel,
you think the web is a trap.
You see mouths open to swallow you in pieces.
You see gaping beaks and hear piercing cries of fill-me.
Susan, you are a hungry bird too with mouth wide open.
The nets we build never hold each other.
The minnow instant darts through the fingers
leaving a phosphorescent smear
and nothing else.

Jagged Susan, enamel Susan,
Susan of sullen sleeps and jabbing elbows,
of lists and frenetic starts,
of the hiss of compressed air and the doors slide shut,
you can't hang in the air like a rainbow.
We are making the revolution out of each other.
We have no place else to begin
but with our hungers and our caring and our teeth.
Each love is singular
and the community still less than the addition of its parts.
We are each other's blocks and bricks.
To build a house we must first dig a hole
and try not to fall in.

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