Poetry Suite by Suzanne Langlois

Editor Carrie Ivy, Poetry, August 30th, 2017

"Maybe all anchors are afraid of drowning..."

Suzanne Langlois Poetry Nailed Magazine


Poetry by Suzanne Langlois.

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Driving home, the headlights press
their palms against the fog—
a blindfolded person navigating

an unfamiliar room.
This is how love feels to me,
or whatever comes before love—

the amorphous swirl churning
in the gut, not ready to name itself,
its half-existence just brushing

the skin with its whiskers, like a cat
that knows which parts of your body
it can curl into and be allowed to stay.

Imagine if this mist could grow skin,
like boiled milk cooling.
And imagine if I could let that skin be,

instead of clawing it open
with my fingernails,
trying to find the bones beneath.

Though I know better,
I always drive at a speed
the headlights can’t keep up with,

as wall after solid wall of fog
approaches and then splits
to let me pass through.

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Maybe the grave is just a more forgiving skin
Maybe a casket is a bed that closes
and makes its own dark
Maybe dark is the mutiny of light
and dusk is the last thing the light says as it leaves
Maybe dawn is a swelling bruise
throbbing on the horizon
Maybe every gutter thinks it is a river bed
Maybe the river bed is waiting
for the river to lie still
Maybe all anchors are afraid of drowning
or else of being left behind
Maybe a fist is what happens
when the fingers cling to one another in terror
Maybe a mouth is a bottle that pours two ways
Maybe the whiskey is sorry for what it said last night
Maybe a whip is a tongue that can’t speak
Maybe with each lash it thinks
forgive me forgive me forgive me

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Someone’s arranged cut melons on a plate
for me.…….I can’t unblade the broken fruit,
tuck the seeds back in. …………..If I could
unlock my mouth, …….I’d leave through it.
If I could unhinge my skull, ……..you’d see
how sharp ………………my wants sparkle.
My lamentation……. is a scale of five notes
no one’s heard. …..First note a nail pried
from wood….. nextteeth .cutting the skin
of a ripe pear…….then ..an apology caught
in the throat ….fourth……..the broken beat
of a ruptured drum last the unbreathing
of a half-made child. ………..No one wants
to hear this brutal music…. invasive species
infecting the ear. …………It is the only song
I …………………ever………………… hear.

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Drink to This


shake a pair of dice
in the bottom of the wine glass
stain the table cloth

why drink, if not to gamble
if not to drop the reins
and urge the horses on

adult behavior is a conscious act
let’s drink to unconsciousness
we all take our clothing off too soon

the night starts with a flame
that fits in the palm of a hand
like a wine glass

and ends in a forest fire
so many mistakes begin
with wanting to be warm

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My eyelid twitches—
a nervous hand tugging
the cord of a window blind.

Each time I blink, my eyelids
rust shut and reluctantly
I pry them open again.

My skull is full of wasps,
twangy as banjos. My thoughts
swell, stung senseless.

Fatigue’s clumsy hands botch
each task, knock me off the ladder,
knock the ladder to the floor.

Gravity presses my shoulders
against the chair, an incoming tide
pinning me to wet sand and futility.

If sleep were a stranger in a dark car,
I’d climb right in, saying
I don’t care what you do to me,
just take me wherever you’re going.

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Header image courtesy of Jessica Dungeon. To view her Artist Feature, go here.


Suzanne Langlois Poetry Nailed MagazineSuzanne Langlois lives in Portland, Maine, where she teaches high school English. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in The Fourth River, Rust + Moth, DeLuge, Off the Coast, Rattle, and Menacing Hedge. Her work has also been featured on the Button Poetry Channel.


Carrie Ivy

Carrie Ivy (formerly Carrie Seitzinger) is Editor-in-Cheif and Co-Publisher of NAILED. She is the author of the book, Fall Ill Medicine, which was named a 2013 Finalist for the Oregon Book Award. Ivy is also Co-Publisher of Small Doggies Press.