Sunday, 25 November 2018

Don’t, Marie.

by Suzanne Allen

Black-eyed and necklaced in gold
she almost smiles, thinks
she might jump from the Pont
Marie or slowly descend
the stone steps to the water slapping
the quai… Don’t, Marie.

He only did it once.  Now
she carries him on her shoulders—
the weight of the world—one
of his hands blocks her depth perception.
How far is the water?  Upstairs,
inside, he drinks and toasts the purple
phantoms of his youth.

Remember, she thinks,
when our toes touched the clouds?
How it felt to sweep skyward, then
be pulled back to the tracks in the sand,
tracks without trains or veins or any other things
to carry her blood and bones away
besides the tide. 

But green is the color of healing and
things left in the shade too long, so she waits—
for rain and thunder, a crack of light in the sky
bluer than she, strains her white
eyes but can’t see
the colors, only the banister up there

in their window… His piano notes
sliding down, and all around her the wind
flicks them at her feet like little threats,
like rain. Somewhere in a room up there
she once slept, soundly—the sheets on the day,
bed the color of memory, of dreams—

but the railing can’t save them—these
notes, those dreams—couldn’t
be any less useful. She can’t see the colors,
only the black-eyed notes
tumbling, light split by the panes. 
Splitting pain.

Something she meant to say before
she shut the door.

* * * * *

Suzanne Allen holds an MFA in Poetry and is a coeditor for The Bastille (of Spoken Word Paris). Her poems have been published in print and online journals such as Cadence Collective, California Quarterly, Carnival, Cider Press Review, Crack the Spine, Hobo Camp Review, Nerve Cowboy, Pearl, San Pedro River Review, Spillway, Spot Lit, Tears in the Fence and Upstairs at Duroc. Anthology publications include Not a Muse, (Haven Books,) The Heart of All that Is, (Holy Cow Press,) Strangers in Paris, (Tightrope Books,) Veils, Halos and Shackles, (Kasva Press,) and Villanelles, (Knopf.) She also creates videos of poets reading their work, which can be found on YouTube at Vlogosophy. Her first chapbook, verisimilitude, is available at, and her most recent chapbook, Little Threats, was published just this summer by Picture Show Press. "Don't, Marie" sparked the title for this collection.

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