Spring 2018, Volume 24

Poetry by Susan Grimm

Black Horse from Antiquity

Evening. Our parents stayed on the shore. They could
call and call as much as they liked. It became

(torrent) a kind of music. We got into the canoe
(catapult) our shoes wet. Someone pushed us off—

when we tell this story, we make it funny.
Were we headed for the island (cataract mist)

(cataract slingshot capsize) In the beating of gongs
and drums for a thousand years. Something raised up

the water with its tongue. I think there was
an island. A net of white horses. But we never

scraped its edge. Even in the winter (swoon)
Voices (columns) twisting from the shore, a bird’s

noodle of straw. The black horse broke through the ice
(steep) drove (flinty) through the frozen ground.

Buzzing Alto

Rollerskating. The rumble in the legs. I might have been wearing skirts wary of cracks worshipping slate as the best surface with its minute continual glinting of stars.

I wasn’t going anywhere. I couldn’t go any farther than the end of the block but it was a long block. Past the stiffened up house fronts of people I didn’t know. Places my mother played bridge. Places with Kool-Aid and galactic-colored metalware.

Dogs barked standing on sofas looking out windows.

So much better than the bicycle I could never really balance. My legs charging forth, surging, a kind of confident momentum it would take me a long time to find anywhere else. Fine tuning the process with the key (the key?). Don’t lose it. Wedging my foot into the sturdy metal car, adjustable.

I was master of driveway and tree root, using the grass to stop, sensitive to the geographic plats of the land. The noise like a hive of metal bees buzzing in alto. The street an arcade with its slight upward climb towards 35th.

Not many cars. Children with balls. Inside, the women probably wore aprons and some of them cried and some of them slid the maternity smock over their heads again.

Long strip of pavement, just the north side of the street. If I imagined anything at all it was that they were all happy and Catholic. If I imagined anything at all it was that they were just like me.




BIO: Susan Grimm is the author of Almost Home (Cleveland State University Poetry Center 1997), Lake Erie Blue (BkMk Press 2004), and Roughed Up by the Sun’s Mothering Tongue (Finishing Line Press 2011). Her work has appeared in Blackbird, The Journal, The Cortland Review, Seneca Review, and Tar River Poetry. She earned an MFA in poetry through the Northeast Ohio MFA consortium (NEOMFA) and teaches creative writing part-time at the Cleveland Institute of Art. She also occasionally teaches classes for Literary Cleveland. She lives in Cleveland, Ohio, and can be found online at The White Space Inside the Poem.