Susan Lewis


It was time for something, although she could not for the life of her imagine what. So she assumed her post on the stoop & waited for the future to declare itself. A tattered bird of dubious provenance landed on the bannister & inspected her with his ancient gaze. She exhaled with emphasis, but otherwise managed to keep her preconceptions to herself. The old fellow cocked his head & screeched. Terrific, she said. How am I supposed to know if you’re the one I’m waiting for? Terrific, he squawked. How am I supposed to know if you’re the one I’m waiting for? I get it, she said, bravely extending her arm. I get it, he echoed, latching on with admirable decision. It was the last conversation they ever had.

            -from Heisenberg’s Salon (BlazeVOX [books], 2017)

I Can’t Say How We Got This Far

First I’m wading through daisies, nosing your breath, then we’re like this, not one way but its opposite, in ever-more confusing rondo form. That we fail doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to align ourselves, give or take reality’s allowance. Do you hear the crickets yelling at those hungry birds? Do you smell the storm crackling in the hollows? I’ve tossed petals at the lot of them, they are not impressed. You would call me desperate, & I would demur. I would call you Babyface, or Salamander, or Mr. Critical, depending on the stuck market & the relative humility. Now there’s sorrow raining down from the agitated clouds. Perhaps they yearn for a more congenial atmosphere. They, too are underappreciated. Meanwhile you’ve aced more mean feats, leaving me jealous of my former self. Call it sweet-&-sour grapes, call it no-strings-attached, either way we might be sorry, & sometimes I am. Other times I tremble for more of the same.

            -from Zoom, winner of the 2017 Washington Prize
                                         (The Word Works, 2018)

This is Not a Movie

but now & then it feels like one, & often has the same symptoms. With this overload of blurred identities, it may be advisable to drag our feet through the conceptual mud, a necessity devoutly to be resisted. Unless it’s preferable to jump ship & sink on our merits, like grief-stricken elephants. Which is not to say you shouldn’t arrive at your reunion prepared with garters, buckshot, & dungarees, in case the situation goes south & you’re feeling peckish. The man in the moon may bring his husband. As acolytes they are dry, sometimes even down in the mouth, but never dead in the water. Come to mama is what they might think, if they weren’t too worn & weathered to fall for anything an order of magnitude more inviting than this insidiously tempting razor’s edge.

            -from State of the Union (Spuyten Duyvil Press, 2015)

About the Author

Susan Lewis ( is the author of ten books and chapbooks, most recently Zoom, winner of the Washington Prize (The Word Works, 2018). Her work has appeared in Boston Review, The Brooklyn Rail, Diode, The New Orleans Review, Raritan, Seneca Review, TAMMY, Verse, VOLT, and many other journals and anthologies. She is the founding editor of Posit, an online journal of literature and art (

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