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Susan Gillis

Susan Gillis’ most recent book, Yellow Crane, was a Jurors’ Selection in the Grand prix du livre de Montreal and a finalist for the ASLE (Association for the Study of Literature and Environment) Creative Writing Award.

Burnt Umber

All the way to the horizon
umber fields unrolling.
Ribbed, stubbled,

dark but for patches in the hollows
where snow persists.
Mid-field, brown lumps

shift, seem to breathe,
resolve into geese.
You feel it would take you

days to walk to where they are
and this makes you yearn
to be there this instant

though last summer
before the grain was fully ripe
you’d have given everything, almost,

to be nowhere at all.

Beauty Spot on the Wing of a Mallard Drake

The girl bends to the grass
to tie her shoe.

Her shadow
flows into the pond

where earlier
the mother held the bag of breadcrumbs

while the girl cried —
it was the mother who cried.

One of the laces is knotted
and stained dark blue.

You have to be very close
to see it.
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