Susan Stiles


Make me into a movie.  Come down my
elevator.  Fall over my couch and stumble
onto the living room floor.  Make yourself
a coffee.  There's nothing to it.  Breathe a
sigh of relief.  Move your pawn forward.
I'm all out of rooks.  No matter.  Play on.  

Take me to some country inn.  Let the snow
fall.  Lift the lid on the piano and hand me
my pipe.  I'll sing for you.  Pour me a scotch
and soda, that's right.  Now move the inn
south.  An island?  OK. In a storm?  Just so.
Come on in, the water's great.  

Stand me by the edge of a sandy cliff.  
Pretend that I will jump then locate my lover
in the misty distance.  All is well.  Let's cross
that bridge some other time.  Preach me a
sermon while the desolate sun determines
its next move.  Exit, stage left.

I am everywhere I have ever been. I stand,
waiting, in the lighted hall of an unmarked
school.  I sleep high above a grassy pyramid.  
I rummage lazily in the back of an abandoned
car.  I tell tales in a makeshift cavern on a
midsummer's night.  I lock and unlock the
cellar door.  I interrupt a lonely twosome.

I am called to attention in a triangular well.  
The landscape condenses the ground under
my feet. I am rescued by a wandering Saint
Bernard.  I crouch, fearful, in the spires of an
unfinished church.  My legs tighten with the
onset of end-stage vertigo.  

I am smoking on a rooftop in Antigua.   
This is my world now.  The talk relapses
by turns: death and recent earthquakes.
I recall a cemetery, in a teenage embrace.  
These trees appear rootless, by comparison.  
A narrow fog floats in, then hurries past.  

These people make me nervous.  I will
cross the lake instead, circle the broken
volcano and lie in wait for the cardboard
artist with whom I danced last night, she
of the long and straight and immovable,
blond hair.

Susan Stiles is a Manager of User-Centered Design for an IT consulting firm in the Washington, D.C. area.  Her poems have appeared in Dalhousie Review and Red River Review.



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