by Danielle Susi
She lets it all fall out of her tongue. She prays for me. Eats a sandwich throat-first.
Lets the bottom of a soda can grind against the tabletop.
A rainstorm of bullets releases in the alley. Dogs answer or dance in response. I say,
Did you hear that? And someone answers Not this time, but so many times before.
Saw six birds today. Am I asking too many questions about his personal life? Can he
walk me through again? But this time more slowly and offer feedback?
Some of us remark how sickened we are by the embalming scent of this false funeral.
Gasp for the air that does not taste like death.
I want to know that the next person who comes through that door has a key. That
everyone we know has a key to somewhere.
Mothers wait for something new. How loud does an individual voice carry? And how
loud the collective? Only some deaths bear the luxury of privacy.
Briefly, I was thinking about your other soul, which I remember being partially my own.
We are calibrated to the same whisper. Have you always been the wingspan of six finches in flight?
My brother is at a window somewhere asking why the glass is so thick. The shimmer
of one bulb fighting against its own filament.
There might be other things. But I assure myself that when my back is turned
that same noise will not touch me.
I have every right to be afraid of the night when the night has done nothing good for me.
And if I need a moment of silence I should demand the shutting of my own mouth.
Final air fading, claimed by exclamation of itself.
Danielle Susi is the author of the chapbook The Month in Which We Are Born (dancing girl press, 2015). Her writing has appeared in Knee-Jerk Magazine, Hobart, The Rumpus, and elsewhere. Her full-length manuscript A River Always Ends at a Mouth, has been selected as a semi-finalist for both the Lexi Rudnitsky First Book Prize at Persea Books and the Hudson Prize at Black Lawrence Press. She received her MFA in writing from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She currently lives and works in Utah. Find her online at daniellesusi.com.