you are in the diode archives v5n3



Flyway Lover

In this beach house, only the top socket
of an outlet is live. Except for one.

And what of the egret who brings me
a fish each day, poises on the deck five

feet from my bed and lets the still-living
victim twitch so its scales flame in sunlight?

Desperation? Dominance? Courtship?
Electricity folds mystery within mystery.
Why else would I consider poking my finger
in a live socket to throw off sparks,

continue, though already caught, to
wriggle, struggle, and lust after shine?



Nature traces flesh, burns the tongue,
Eats and excretes.

Within there’s a monster who devours dreams.
Pasty, poisonous, bloated. His poet child
Gnaws at curiosity
As larvae in his fur catch fire.

Holy accord is always subject to accident,
Making room for cheats and thieves.
Will that. Eat that.
Seethe. Kill the monster but save

His child. And always—god damn—
wax and burn.


Ripeness is All

Fruits plump like ruddy breasts, stems rippling.
See these tomatoes, the old woman says,

holding stubby-fingered hands toward me.
They are my grandchildren.

You pamper and spoil, Old One, you last of
the fishers of men/women. You nurture nature,

pray/prey. No loaves or fishes—
oh Lord, just ripeness. One day, you’ll twist

them free. Offer them as hymns, your love apples:
handfuls to the living, eyefuls for the dead.


Non-Sequitur of MFA-Speak

Chimera of catatonia, semaphores of alarm,
or snow-gauze blooming

The sky drags chains of disembodied
eyes over foxes’ shoulders
a pulley dredges up the ocean in your chest

An Atlantis of noses or body crop-dusting sweat
Read the signals, we’re all in distress

In our schools, we said brown gravy came
to dining halls, nests of neural readiness,
through the sewers

Now MFA-Speak, spread by a shared needle,
must be the antidote for diabetic lines


Color Coding

Some women are not meant to be gift-wrapped.

Remember when other women had their colors done
so they could say with authority: I’m a Winter?

My mother never dressed me in pink. Always blue.

A Winter, they say, dark hair and eyes, should wear
black, with red and white. No warmth but starkness.

Fuschia, plum, siena, ruby, grape, olive, magenta.

Now, as I sink past autumn, I see some wisdom in
colors; but I am not yet ready to consider winter.  


Susan Terris is the author of five books of poetry plus thirteen chapbooks. Her poetry books include: The Homelessness Of Self (Arctos Press), Contrariwise (Time Being Books), and Natural Defenses(Marsh Hawk Press). Her work has appeared in many journals, including The Southern Review, The Journal, and Ploughshares. A poem of hers from Field appeared in Pushcart Prize XXXI.  This spring she won the Louis Hammer Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America. She is the editor of Spillway Magazine and poetry editor of In Posse Review and of Pedestal Magazine. In 2013, The Ghost of Yesterday: New & Selected Poems will be published by Marsh Hawk Press.