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Issue 4.1 

Winter 2024

Suzanne Swanson

After Killarney Clary, her untitled poem

I believe in energy. I recall sidebars in textbooks, diagrams: neutrons, protons, electrons. The swing, the buzz. When my chest pulses and lightens and I begin to pursue. The finches, their beaks at the feeder seeking.

I was appointed to ask and not be answered, have no illusions that there is a solitary answer. Why not wonder together, put only parentheses around curiosity?

I believe the river, the lake, the ocean, the slough, the spring, the marsh, the brook, the creek. I am thirsty.

I thought music was god. I may still think that. Divining rod, each melody, each beat percussing a bit of the universe, or singing it.

Suzanne Swanson is the author of House of Music (Laurel Poetry Collective) and the chapbook What Other Worlds:  Postpartum Poems, and the co-editor (with Sara Dovre Wudali) of All You Need is One Avocado, a hybrid chapbook. Suzanne is a winner of the Loft Mentor Series. She helped to found Laurel Poetry Collective. Recent poems have appeared in, West Trade Review, Sleet and EcoTheo Review. She is happiest near big water.

Suzanne's Book Recommendations

Door in the Mountain:  New and Collected Poems 1965-2003, Jean Valentine

The Saint of Everything, Deborah Keenan

Small Things Like These, Claire Keegan

The Ministry for the Future, Kim Stanley Robinson


There's a Killarney Clary poem (one of those she left untitled) that begins “I believe in time as healer and destroyer.” I copied her stanza structure—and I lifted one word from each stanza of that poem, too. I did not wish to write her poem again. I wanted to know what it felt like to stand on her ground, grateful and honored to inhabit it, yet build something highly personal.

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