Three Works by Susan Botich


Scattered pieces of glass, so many
tiny shapes, colors. At first
they seem easy to the fingers
given the job of rearranging
but, when trying to lift just one –
just one particularly small piece,
an astonishing cut surges more blood
than what seems possible.

So, the artist learns to rectify them carefully,
using tools she’s come to master
over long years of study,
into designs more pleasing
to her sensibilities.
Yet, every time she turns her back,
the bits rearrange themselves again
into the chaos of their origin,
the way they were before she began.

Some lie overtly blade side up,
protrude like signs, edges glinting
against the light;
Taste me with your fingers.
I will not be managed, cannot be
trifled with.

The artist keeps trying to form a rose.
But, now, questioning
the rightness of her vision,
she considers whether she should just pour out
the hot liquid bubbling resin
over all of them at once,
just as they had fallen naturally
against the black mat of memory.

Before realizing she’s made any decision, she spills
a flow of pitch she didn’t know she had, a mess
of acceptances.
The transparent tar cools almost instantly,
seals the shards into riotous patterns,
swirls of mishap.

* * *

Perhaps He Found His Own Passage

He stares blankly over the crevasse
that gapes between us.
This cave seems infinite.
I cannot place from where it was born
or estimate when its mouth formed:
Danger – Condemned.
I am not sure how either of us came here,
to this dark.
But we stand on either side
of the snaking abyss
and wait. I hope
for something to happen, some miracle.

I brought my own water,
drawn from the spring just outside
the cave mouth, above us.
He did not. He gulps
from a rotten smelling cup
the rancid oily remnants
of who-knows-what, complaining.
He always shouts about the dark –
how it’s cold and empty
(yet, full of treachery, he says)
and how it tricked him
into moving farther from the light.
I see how he shivers.
I just do not know how to tell him
leaving is not dying.
So, I turn from the ragged rift
and follow my own footsteps back
to the light,
the wind and the greens that breathe.

Sometimes I visit the mouth of that dark,
lean into and peer down its throat,
call down the vortex stair,
listen for his ache.
Carried on the choked gusts,
only silence returns.

* * *

This Night

Silent in the swollen night,
I stole myself away
to find our ancient, lonely wood.
Beneath the sky I lay.

And, now, I look up at the stars,
the planets and the moon,
while pungent fragrances of dream
dispel themselves too soon.

I turn my clash of thoughts to find
that place where last we’d met –
the hidden glade, the lucent lake.
I never will forget.

We sat upon the grasses there,
and sought each other’s heart
within our penetrating gazes –
tied, yet still apart.

Now, in this night – eternal night!
I wait for you and weep.
I cannot bear to leave this place,
to wake, again to sleep.

Why does this night take so long?
How does it breathe so quiet?
Strength all spent, just memory now,
my thoughts are left to riot.

At least this night is soft and silent,
here inside our wood.
My mind is set, my heart is bent –
I stand where once we stood

and swear to never leave this place,
not even if I could.