Susan Sonde

And the Gods said to me lie still here in this space we’ve provided. All things within are undiminished, unconsumed. You shall have it for a day, until dusk. And I lay still, obedient in my skin, atop a layer of earth that waited to make what it could of me, the hills just like the hills on earth, only lower and more tender, a kind of moss that barely troubled the air. 

I asked the sun, orbit entrails trailing for adornment, a grain of luster. And the sun responded as if doused with kerosene, was nonstop bluster, a red full of noise which lit upon me, I should have burned.  

Oh weariness, I was narrating impermanence when I happened upon an inch worm, a tiny deity, silken replica that spun from a leaf in a place where ambergris the living light collects. I asked it to share with me the science of turning, whether it hoped for a little extra life, a few more miles to put into the spurious bag its body; my own an insufficiency, its savings, small thrift of cells reduced. There was white in my blood, glacial drift: the white of chilblains.  

A world can die trawling the universe. Avalanches flock. Pyrites and basalts collect. The air hardens and impedes. Water then not water. Rabbits pour from the leaves. The leaves rend grease. The earth intones as it travels, the sound of chains on walls—the Gods rendered as chunks of iron.

The heavy lifting who’ll do it? There aren’t ribs in the world strong enough to bring them down, make them soft again and dewy.

Dragonflies dart into the broth of night like incandescent angels. Who drinks of night establishes in himself the wide shape of uncertainty. Who presses too hard against glass must break and will hear the no that answers all being. His pain when he shatters will sear until the flesh is married off.

Wind come, bring along your brain. I shall need you presently to ferry my silly damaged smile aloft. The stars have come out along the edges of the sky like love beads, chains of

them to slip-knot, endure—make shelter.


Author’s Commentary: "Excursion” is from my collection Evenings at the Table of an Intoxicant, newly completed. The collection represents more than a year's worth of work and an effort to come to terms with an energy that was almost manic in nature. It had to be harnessed before anything cohesive came from it. "Excursionmade its appearance early in the collection and helped to steady me. The voice was quieter and seemed to come from a more peaceful place within me. I am grateful for its steadying influence. I hope your readers will feel that as well.


Susan Sonde’s work can be found in a number of publications including Barrow Street, The North American Review, Boulevard, The Southern Humanities Review, The Mississippi Review, and many others. She has received numerous awards and grants from institutions such as the NEA, the Maryland State Arts Council, and the Poetry Society of America—from which she won the Gordon Barber Memorial Award. Her book In the Longboats with Others (New Letters) was awarded The Capricorn Book Award. Her latest collection The Arsonist will be released in the spring of 2019 by Main Street Rag.