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PoetryIssue 4 | April 2009

Four poems by Suzanne Parker

The Museum-Goer’s Strategy

Don’t start with the Madonna
dead on the table.
Start with the hours walking
the cool-draped halls
looking for the open window
to show the rain has stopped
and it is time to go out,
away from the grand relay of art,
triptych to French fowl, head limp
on a platter with a lemon,
a glass of white wine. 

Start earlier, the flight
from Newark, plane’s ascension,
nails half moons in Lori’s hand
and before us, always
before us, the idea
stashed deep in a suitcase
like a flesh-colored dildo
or drugs— Hemingway,
Orwell— snuck in as contraband,

and before this, the Hoshi
on my father’s living room wall,
a single tree like a man walking
into a blue, horizontal distance
split into bursts like static
or his bonsais, those
palm-treed islands each
with its own castaway
sunk in the still study
and no one could keep them alive
after his death.

Start sooner with the shock
he spent a summer bullfighting,
learned to plant his feet
and perform the sweeping veronicas
like the opera always playing

in the background, the fierce control,
the huge courage to reach,
stay in place, paint a solitary tree
and I am finally stopped
before Caravaggio’s rejected Mary,
the one too gray, too swollen,
too naked.  The museum asks
in five languages for its patrons
to leave.  Now, it is time to start.

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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.

Read our current issue:

Poetry

Three poems by Emma Aprile
Bulgarian Pantoum by Aileen Bassis
When You Get There by Kate Bernadette Benedict
To Get to Trondheimsfjord by Sue Chenette
The New Place by Sadie Ducet
A Funeral in Zarra by Joe Evans
Port Cities and Pantries by Christine Jones
Boston Graveyards by David Landrum
Morgan’s by Sean J Mahoney
Rats by Alexander Motyl
Tell Me The Road by Michael Pearce
Walls in Warsaw by Michael Sarnowski
Words I have traveled, sadly beyond by Janice D. Soderling
Pale Blues by Lynne Thompson

Postcard prose

Postcard by Marc Harshman
How to Cross the Widest Highway in the World by Maryann Ullmann