Suzanne Rancourt

precipitation to open your mouth, that first time, as a bird – squawked longing silenced into emptiness empty shoes, plates, cups, self – what did it feel like to claw about the accumulations of selves as though your prejudices, and preferences were a bunch of tools stored for that obscure need when a ratchet, wrench, screwdriver, a ballpeen hammer could actually fix the mess laid before you: a tangle of blue extension cords, cabinets crammed with power tools, you leave the cabinet doors splayed, as if, as if, that meant your power of thought was an open mind. what did it feel like to open your mouth for that first time as a bird drowning on water that gravity crammed down your throat choking on your political salts dried on all flesh in all shades – the blood under a nail bed struck by your own hammer, your own anger, this is your doing and no repairs can quite fix the death profound ignorance leaks through the shower heads the size of pie plates that the well-needed-face-palm fools lean into you will never carry the dead with your own hands in pieces and parcels. you will never bury the dead in soil labored with stones inked with torrential reigns and mannerisms impregnated by your own lethargic stance among human baboons waiting to become birds. your hearts are too heavy with wrongdoing to ever fly out from your fear the future formed as clouds, apparitions, you waved off like some junk science peddled by fortune tellers and wanderers my fingers fly through keyboards of cupboards storing the teetering parallelisms once engaged in time signatures responsible for pay checks to peasants, offered as blanket snapping constituencies. i’m drowning here in the false voices professing to protect me from my own need to protest and i’m o.k. with living alone isolated in quarantine because this bull shit is the new normal and you don’t fool me with your metered speeches measured by existence, or nonexistence, mere exactitudes as defined by your interpretive dance from a future that does not exist so how does it feel to open your mouth for the first time only to learn that I am no longer your throat? Systemic Pandemics I catch myself saying, “If I lived someplace like this…” and realizeI live where the rising sun leaks a red orange fire across the frozen lawnfrom behind mountains over low stonewalls that cannot stop the grey slate walkways lapping at another day with fluidity and possibility. If I lived someplace like this,even beauty could shock and startle the small deer herd flagging their white tailsthat teeter atop their hindquarters when they prance-a-lope escape. What makes this beauty different is timing, silence, a 2nd cup of coffee because the first cup splashed hard against an inverted cup’s bottom. An easily forgiven oversight. What is beauty if we have no one to share it with? I remember fragments of a dream: There are men wearing grey trousers and all I seeand hear is the swishing of pant legs in dry office hallways - urgent, focused,changing the world. My Jenga spine is toppling; vertebral wings crumble like fuel tanks dropped in flight boosting the space shuttle’s exit from earth’s orbit, poignantly emphasizing, “you can’t take it with you when you go.” A too sudden and uneven weight shift in the pelvis spears a jab of point taken. Load bearing incidents are scrambles up Crane Mountain, wearing micro spikes on ice, craving spring melt. Bolivia is being destroyed one murderous second at a time for precious lithium deposits. While gripping my metal pen, I ask, what happens when the ink runs out? What funerary rite does this carcass deserve? If I lived someplace like this, where people annihilate the anecdote before they know it is one, I would quarantine myself for months, wash my hands repeatedly, wear plague masks embellished with mnemonic talismans wondering,if I lived someplace like this… Multi-modal EXAT, Suzanne S. Rancourt, Abenaki/Huron descent, has published 2 books: Billboard in the Clouds, 2nd print, Northwestern UP, received the Native Writers’ Circle of the Americas First Book Award, and ‘murmurs at the gate', Unsolicited Press, 2019. A 3rd book, Old Stones, New Roads, and her 4th, Songs of Archilochus, seeks a press. She is a USMC and Army Veteran who holds an MS in psychology - SUNY, Albany and an MFA in writing - VCFA. Suzanne is widely published. Please visit her website for a complete publication list: