Susan Rich

Not Monet’s Giverny

In our snow globe of good-byes we leave
cities burning, arguments still on fire.

We do not touch but force ourselves

into pockets and gloves.
Winter stumbles on: questions

without answers.
Glass bridge of exits, cracked runway lights

flared blue and gold.

We travel through forlorn gates
the size of breadbaskets

do not stop for sweets or tea.

On the last day of this life
we will not live together

we steer north of Paris

to observe the descendants of lily pads,
abandoned in the gardens of Giverny.

Everything frozen.

Even now— decades on, the same
little remains.

Empty beds where the iris had lived;

white stones to an ashen sky.
And a man and a woman struck numb.


Susan Rich is the author of four collections of poetry, Cloud Pharmacy, The Alchemist’s Kitchen, named a finalist for the Foreword Prize and the Washington State Book Award, Cures Include Travel, and The Cartographer’s Tongue Poems of the World, winner of the PEN West Award. Her poems have appeared in: the Alaska Quarterly Review, The Gettysburg Review, New England Review, and World Literature Today. Susan co-edited The Strangest of Theatres: Poets Crossing Borders, a selection of essays on poets who travel published by McSweeney’s and the Poetry Foundation. She lives in Seattle, WA and on-line at http://www.susanrich.net

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