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Like the gulls

that stalk the beach,
appetite is about fear—

not enough, no seconds, none
for you, the small orphan Oliver's

hollow bowl and his stomach,
like our selves, a cave that swallows

and is empty again
and always, so always this.

It is not hunger that starts the jets
of saliva, that orders from both sides

of the menu then calls the waiter back
asks of sides, potatoes in cream,

the fallen stalks of asparagus, roasted garlic
in cheese with lime.  No.  Hunger

listens to be called inside
where it slides into place at the table,

smoothes a napkin across the lap.
But, appetite is not called.  It sneaks,

sidles, swoons at the trays of pastries
in bright windows, weeps as it slips the first

bite between the lips.  This is what fear
tastes of:  butter, honey, and glass.


As in the Poem

Sticks stubble the breeze

and There are certain nests lined with our names.

If she says, My fingers locate your fear.
Snuff it out.  Wear the smudge on my forehead ‘til dusk.

As in, Too many poems about mothers, and their milk
for She never picked me up and you.

If, I offer you my soul's thin jacket, and its shoes
but The park digs its own moat and we without our fish feet.

Then, If you travel the continent of my back
with the boat of your hand.
  In sum,

Kiss me the poem does not say, but the vowels
turn on their bellies In the silence of your going.



What is the word for air
hitting the throat’s back?

How do I spell a question
living inside the jar

of my days? What is
the syntax of knees

held open, the bridge
of hips? When you kiss

the language from my hours,
some fierce animal in me

circles twice around herself
and settles at the bottom

of a vowel.  How does caught
breath scan?  Your pulse or mine?  


Suzanne Parker is a winner of the Kinereth Gensler Book Award for her poetry collection Viral (from Alice James Books, 2013), which was a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award and is on the National Library Association’s Over the Rainbow List of recommended books for 2013.  Her work has  appeared in Barrow Street, Cimarron Review, Drunken Boat, Hunger Mountain, and BODY. Suzanne is the managing editor at MEAD: A Magazine of Literature and Libations and directs the creative writing program at Brookdale Community College in New Jersey.