Poetry - Issue 04 | April 2009

Four poems by Suzanne Parker


Ocatlan

What I remember of Mexico
is being lost in something arid
not just the bleached stone we drove  
    through
but something I couldn’t remove
from myself like the dust clouding
the car’s inside, how it choked, left us
half-blind, eyes grit-filled as the
    landscape.
Then, we arrived and there was a market:
goats, parakeets like the last caged
    light,
Cokes, bobble heads, fruit shocking
in its color like we could start
again if I only knew its secrets,
how to turn sand into scarlet,
how to say ‘yes’ when all I’d practiced
was a mumbled ‘no’— to the children
with their sharpened pencils,
the women swamped in black
on the curbs, the men who hissed,
touched themselves, the virgin
with a hundred hopes flickering
at her feet, the chapel walls blossoming
with mold and you stood at the altar
saying ‘come’.  Even the cold juice
of the jicama couldn’t wash the road
from my throat, miles where the dogs
looked at me and cringed, retreated
into the thin, insufficient shadows.

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About the author

Suzanne Parker has recently returned from a month in Paris where ate a lot of croissants and wrote poems about Framingham, Massachusetts. Suzanne was a finalist for the New Rivers Press Book Award in 2008, and her work has recently appeared in A Gathering of the Tribes, The MacGuffin, NYC BigCityLit, Poetry Motel, Rattapallax and others.

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