Suzanne Parker



The priest asks them what
they’d fill their enormous houses with,
holding the paper he’s folded
a la mansion above their heads
like a piñata above the armed:
A bed. A huge TV. A very large pool.
Jacuzzi. Shoes. Penguins.
A chocolate room. They declare
themselves while parents gleam
and I think of communion—
first known use, 14th century—
wonder when consecration
meant a hole in the ground filled
with jets and bubbles and look
for the boy who wanted to eat
a room, how he alone seems
to understand this sacrament—
that desire can be holy—even when
the priest pauses for effect
then slowly lifts it all out of reach.


If I eat your face, I am insane.
If I nibble on your lip, I am in love.
Such distinctions to keep in mind.

If I give you my right hand and not the left,
I want you to lay me across the bed of the day,
sing songs into wherever I open. If

I offer you my left, I plan on shaking hands
with the rest of the world while you sip
from the cupped hands of yesterday.

If I walk past our building, look up and you are there,
the rules of distance will collapse.
If I eye the rough tongue of pavement,

bicycles will roll un-ridered down city streets
into the chaos at traffic lights, the decisions
of stop or go, turn or straight, hope or cry.

If your voice swirls in the cups of my ears,
I will collect its letters, stash them in a jar
in my chest. If you come to claim them,

we can spread them on the table, build towers,
knock them down. We can make
our own game’s rules, then cheat.
SUZANNE PARKER is a winner of the Kinereth Gensler Book Award from Alice James Books for her poetry collection, Viral which has been nominated as a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award and is on the National Library Association’s Over the Rainbow List of recommended books for 2014. Her poetry has appeared in Barrow Street, Cimarron Review, Hunger Mountain, Drunken Boat, and numerous other journals and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. She is a winner of the Alice M. Sellars Award from the Academy of American Poets and was a Poetry Fellow at the Prague Summer Programme. She is the managing editor at MEAD: A Magazine of Literature and Libations.

Read more work by Suzanne Parker:

Two poems in 2River View
Two poems in Drunken Boat