before the lovely bones salted and watered— trust the future the past is made up A fast blackout leaves an afterlight on the stage— a glow you don't remember seeing a flash the eyes believe they witness I left my hunger there with her then bought the tulips— their purple petals just a promise beneath tall green buds A fast blackout— you’re already under you don't have to play an active part A makeshift altar, a couple of photographs a Picasso stone for art and wellness a Buddha, a pearl, a bowl of fruit— leaving happens while you're in place A fast blackout— then the slow light builds— an amber glow picks you out of darkness The purple tulips wilt the life drawings are under the bed the shadow of an angry brother you don't have to play an active part The light builds— a golden bloom on peach pink skin, caressing every thin nerve A fast blackout— twirling the wing of conscientious unconsciousness you don’t have to play an active part An email unanswered, a phone doesn't ring— until you awaken— you are the only light The slow light builds to an afterglow you left an eon ago— and now you stay. You’re in place. ////////////////
Susan Chute is a poet, librarian, archivist, sometimes bookbinder, and curator/founder of Next Year’s Words: a New Paltz Readers Forum, now in its 7th year. She has recently published in the CAPS 2020 anthology; in La Presa, and the Wallkill Valley Writer’s Anthology 2015. Her poems and other writings also appear in Reflecting Pool: Poets and the Creative Process, and on the blogs of The New York Public Library and Women’s Studio Workshop. She holds an MFA in Theatre from the Univ. of Michigan, and an MLIS from Pratt Institute.