Susan Lewis

Although He Knew

it should matter, he could not cull the friendlies from their mastery. Strung from epistemically stronger stuff, she elaborated the web of attrition crowding out their oxygen. Many were the squalls their byproducts swallowed — like passive fires, but more insinuating. With other sandbar denizens, they sported rhythmic limps & pimped-out fangs which could not abide ignorance. Feathers trailed the lot of them like bridal veils, although no one oiled them with accolades like the microbial hordes revising the galaxy with such insatiable verve.


to the mast of the latest taboo, the incubator shut its doors to every puff of color trending south or phasing out. On the bright side, the tiniest smudge was dubbed engine, richly potentiated & entire unto itself. She who insisted on the chirp of mischievous rootlets was dispatched to the cliff face to mull on what she’d done. Meanwhile, the energetic plash of glacial cadmium only cheered her piscine naysayers & other erstwhile equals overripe to sling their modal fruit across her nascent, optimistically purring intentions.

Happy to Oblige,

the latest panic packed her bags & sank into the fug of distraction. Without cooperation there was little to do but consume. Locution, locution, locution, purred the residual ironist from her keyed-up Ouija board. But the Queen of Smoke was not amused. There ensued a masterful melée in which wiry legs gave rise to plangent toes muscling their distress code for the Mistress of Mistake, who kept nothing for granted unless frictionless as photons spotting as they bloody well pleased.


These poems are part of a manuscript in progress, tentatively called Life Sentences, which is interested in the pathos and bathos of humanity as a possibly terminal planetary affliction — explored in prose blocs propelled by the rhythm, music, and connotational energy of language at play. In particular, these three poems are interested in the humor and despair of belonging to a troubled and troublesome family of planetary hegemons who deny our filial relationship to a number of ‘others,’ as well as the moral implications such connections might entail.

Susan Lewis live in New York City and edits Posit ( Her most recent books are “This Visit” (BlazeVOX [books], 2015), “How to Be Another” (Cervena Barva Press, 2014), and “State of the Union” (Spuyten Duyvil Press, 2014). Her poetry has appeared recently in The Awl, Berkeley Poetry Review, Boston Review, The Brooklyn Rail, Connotation Press, Gargoyle, Pool, Prelude, Propeller, Raritan, and Yew. Links to reviews, interviews, online work, and videos can be found at