Suzanne Marie Hopcroft



The houses across the lake were
always on fire. They sagged toward

each other’s joints. Their whispers
woke factories that hunched

their shoulders in the unhealthy glow,
walls careening into sound.

The sounds bled the dark and
the light. The hill was grey

and glooming; epidemics had dragged
it under. Not one building stood

cool against the sky, whistling
its regretful business of hope.


The group of us learned to
swim with our minds. The sludge

was noxious, but we carried on
slinging it toward our backs,

tunneling putrescence into streams.
One night the looming presence

of a void was insufficient
to quiet you and you spouted verses

at my throat, wove amulets into
my unknowing. Together we were

tilted and creaked like houses,
spinning out in the jagged days and

days, proffering our blood-
lines to a misshapen sun.



When the daisies turn to little flames,
given the cinders in the yard, the price
of grass that hasn’t burned will be
a longer journey. The prying neighbor
will undress the windows with her fist.
If broadcasts minus sense are less than
the bright implosion of a street—that is, if
panic shimmers hot beneath the torches—
tired insects will crawl into the glow.

Otherwise, after the small, stained hours,
burlap cities will start to sprout. Then we
will see that construction is impossible
from fragile bones. The right melodies will
flood us. Amid the fog and stilted trees,
fresh eyes will gleam, garish and enough.


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