Metro Station
Suzanne Parker

I am stopped

behind my mother

who is stopped

near the exit

to catch her breath

for another

flight of stairs.

My arms are raised

as if dancing,

as if a thief snatching

from the future,

as if blocking

the 5pm rush

from the staircase

below

its climb

having whitened

her skin,

left us

leaning

into the difficult

slowing

of the heart.


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Because she is
alone, her voice

rusted in the engine
of her throat.

Between her
and the neighbor,

an expanse of lawn
he tends to

every Saturday,
in the morning unpacking

from the oiled,
muscular dark

of his garage
a mower, clippers,

the throaty roar
of cutting.

* * *

After each bullet
Just kiss me.

He does not hear
despite the air sifting

through the window’s new holes,
despite the exclamations

punched into the wall,
the sudden snow

settling about him,
despite her tilting

toward the house, pausing
gun warm against her thigh

before she frowns,
despite the whisper

as the 4th bullet passes
only inches from his naked ear.

* * *

It’s not enough
to say

just a cup of tea
you have to

practice—
steady hand,

eyebrows drawn in high
cloud & horizon—

you have to
say will he?

mean sugar cube
pinned to the cup’s bottom

mean
spoon back

mean
‘I need’

and practice—
arm steady, face raised.


Suzanne Parker is a winner of the Kinereth Gensler Book Award; her collection of poetry, Viral, was published by Alice James Books in Sept. 2013. Her poetry has appeared in Drunken Boat, Hunger Mountain, Barrow Street, Cimarron Review, 2 Rivers, and numerous other journals, and she is a winner of the Alice M. Sellars Award from the Academy of American Poets and was a Poetry Fellow at the Prague Summer Seminars. Suzanne’s creative non-fiction is published in the travel anthology Something to Declare: Good Lesbian Travel Writing by the Univ. of Wisconsin Press. Suzanne is a poetry editor at MEAD: A Magazine of Literature and Libations.

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