- The World to Come
Let’s say we make our own happiness, roll over in the fields, stain our arms and legs with blue
grass; let’s say there’s simply one year left to draw lists of clouds, slip guilt-free through bars
of chocolate, hold each other in this black hole of restlessness. This life.
Tonight we will battle the linoleum squares, laundry stairs, glass deck where one day
the body is sure to grab its last hungry breath. What if all that’s left for us is gravity,
canned soup, a shimmer of thinning hair? Let’s say we make our own happiness even so—
the tail swoop of katsura trees, triple shots of strong coffee, a folded map—
Then may I remember to thank the academy of daily minutiae: suitcases, car keys, a friend’s
first novel of karaoke. Who says we can’t have it all: the house of sky and soft catcalls—
Who says we can’t find another way to fail, to come up short, to catch and release. [End Page 64]
Susan Rich is a Seattle poet and author of three collections of poetry from White Pine Press: The Alchemist’s Kitchen (2010), which was a finalist for the Foreword Prize and the Washington State Book Award; Cures Include Travel (2006); and The Cartographer’s Tongue/Poems of the World (2000), which won the PEN Award for Poetry. She has received awards from the Times Literary Supplement of London, Peace Corps Writers, and the Fulbright Foundation. Recent poems appear in Antioch Review, Poetry International, and Southern Review.