Poetry by Susannah W. Simpson

Read More: A brief interview with Susannah W. Simpson

The Arithmetic of Earth, Wind & Fire

Glass, after glass, after glass of cheap,
pink champagne…who kept count?
Those Wednesday Ladies’ Nights
we divided the sum of our two decades
on this blue planet with our feet.
Serpentine Fire was the rubric
as we, giddy, arm in arm, slid out and back,
laughing though drunken versions of the Hustle.

And now thirty years past our youth,
four hours after adding up the last
of your equations: inhalation, exhalation
I bought a chiffon dress of the deepest blue,
in honor of you multiplying into the cosmos.

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Newsflash: Film Star Has Feet of Clay 

You say I am a Tallulah Bankhead,
unapologetic, a force of nature, larger than life.
But you haven’t heard me as I shriek:
Go on! Get out dickhead!
or watched as I kick a box
of Christmas ornaments down
the full flight of stairs. You haven’t
witnessed me dressed in a cold sweat,
quivering velvet, and quaking pearls
before entrance to a holiday party.
Instead, you can only imagine me
dancing in a Sufi trance, or imagine
me drenched in a spotlight, and you
ignore my forks of lightning which strike
your lower lip reducing you to a pillar
of carbon ash.


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History Lesson

Overnight,
miniature mushrooms appear
in a circle on the lawn
and in the garden, oriental lilies
open, then hang their heavy heads.
And it seems, just as suddenly,
the boy leaves for his life,
where he will fail a few classes,
kiss a few women, but will
never again need milk money,
or a school trip permission slip
signed, will never again need
tagboard at ten Sunday night
for a project on Ancient Greeks:
Due Monday.


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Pear

Bedsores bloom
on his bony hip,
his elbow, his heel.
Lying on his side,
pillows pushed behind
his back, the nurse scolds:
You must stay like this!
His speech is blurred,
but peering through
hospital bed rails,
he makes his need known:
A pear. He wants a pear.
After chemo, his appetite
disappeared,
but today, he eats
this cold sweet pear
as if it was the last bit
of fruit on earth.


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Susannah W. Simpson’s work has been published in: The North American Review, The Wisconsin Review, South Carolina Review, Potomac, POET, Nimrod International, Poet Lore, Salamander, and Xavier Review among others. Her poem “Lily” was anthologized in Full Moon & Foxglove by Three Drops Press, UK. Her book: Geography of Love & Exile was published by Cervena Barva Press (Somerset, MA.) December 2, 2016. She was a founding member of the New Mexico Poetry Alliance, Poets for Peace, Long Island Chapter, served as a staff member for Performance Poets Association of Long Island, and is founder and Co-Director of Performance Poets of The Palm Beaches Reading Series. She holds an MFA from Bennington and a PhD from SUNY/Binghamton.

Read More: A brief interview with Susannah W. Simpson