PoetryIssue 08 | February 2010

Two poems by Susanna Rich

Nun Flying Through Walls

(After Míklos Melocco’s sculpture, Budapest)

      Ancient corner convent door leads now to
      a newsstand—Fuji disposables; paprika, like red horns,
dangling;  holographic cards of Jesus over the Danube.
Even locals rarely know of the stone woman above the lintel,

      who flies horizontal through the building’s outer corner—
      soles, black shoes, furls of blue habit
are a stone kite on Judge Petermann Street;
belt to granite wimple—she bursts into Townhouse Road.

      Wall angles to wall where a magician might slice
      through a woman all plumes, décolletage, net tights.
Here, the pink stucco corner chevrons out from her belly.
Bus stop bench across from her, I sit with the lover

      to whom my father shuttled on Delta—United
      States to Hungary, future to past. My red tulips
wilt in her lap. We look at the nun.  I ask how
one manages decades of longing for the Beloved.

      She tells me the only freedom is to turn back,
      like Lot’s wife, until you become the pain.
Here she looks at me. I make myself still.
“Only stone can pass through stone,” she says.

      We look up, again.  “Yes,” I say, “Let no one
      know whether the hands at your lips
pray, hide secrets, or protect your joy.”
“Or,” she adds, “stop hunger with silence.”     

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About the author

Susanna Rich has published two poetry collections, Television Daddy and The Drive Home. She’s also a Fulbright Scholar, a creative non-fiction writer, and an Emmy Award nominee. As Professor of English and Distinguished Teacher at Kean University in New Jersey, she performs “Shakespeare’s *itches: The Women Talk Back,” a one-woman audience-interactive musical.

Read our current issue:


Two poems by Anne Babson
Vignette, Townhouse, 9 a.m. by Troy Cunio
Night Becomes Day Over the West by Megan Foley
Yukon River Aurora by D. B. Goman
Two Poems by David Havird
Cretan Love Letter by Emily Linstrom
Holland by Rick Mullin
Fear in Kenya by Kristina Pfleegor
The Lounge Lizard by Ed Shacklee
Two Poems by Sarah J. Sloat
Night Flight by Vicki Stannard
Koinonia Farms by Alina Stefanescu
Thessaloniki, Four a.m. by Anastasia Vassos
Imaginary Oceans by Jason Warren
Two Poems by F. J. Williams

Postcard prose

It’s Salty by Kelly Hill

Travel notes

Anchorage in the Great Land by Karen Benning
The Value of Small Money by Megan Hallinan
Screensaver by Sandra Larson
Thirty Cents by Tommy McAree
Gokarna by Kate McCahill
Going Places by Rachel Miller-Howard
Susanville CA: Notes From The Road by Susan Volchok