Poems by Susan Lanier

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by Susan Lanier

From Canary Spring 2015

Susan lives just above the Arroyo Chamisa, which offers passage to coyotes, bears, the spring-returning mountain lions; passage north to Sun, Moon and Atalaya Mountain or south to the sprawling, drier areas of high desert in the Santa Fe watershed.

hiding under the tarragon
he flopped out when spray
from the hose spattered
the leaves  his tail awry
and one leg limp  he gouged
his way through the mulch
with the elbows of his wings

mottled down pillowed his breast

had he plunged to stone? veered
into my window?

his beak gaped soundlessly
but no parent towhee arrived
her beak tufted with beetle legs

red ants would pry away
his flesh should he grow still

he persevered for hours and I
considered options but did
the deadly nothing
and later sprained my foot hiking
as if in retribution with such terrifying
implications that I  like any fledgling
too soon flown  am unqualified
to know

Letter to Mardie Ratheau
Marlboro, Vermont

by Susan Lanier

From Canary Fall 2015

when I showed you where I waited
beside the stone wall tucked under
my plastic camouflage poncho
bobbing my head like branches
in the breeze  scanning
listening to every dry leaf
shift  so still I began to lose
definition like an abandoned house
loses shingles  the wind weaseling

when I told you how all I heard
at first were taps like a dog’s nails
on concrete  then saw  trotting
up the wobbled stone wall not looking
at me but in seconds to pass
three feet from my face  a full grown
fox too many colors to remember
possibly rabid  my legs tangled

when I told you I couldn't tell if he saw me
his eyes alert for the flush poised to strike
and you asked me Was it
a dream?
                     stunned I said
No. I was never more awake.

I meant to stay calm
I meant to remain invisible
and what I meant to say to you

if I were dreaming
then everything is a dream
and in it a fox the color of dry leaves
urine-burned bark  sumac berries
mushroom  ash  floats
over stones and looks
through me as if
I were air

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