Susan Grimm has been published in Sugar House Review, The Cincinnati Review, Phoebe, and Field. Her chapbook Almost Home was published in 1997. In 2004, BkMk Press published Lake Erie Blue, a full-length collection. In 2010, she won the inaugural Copper Nickel Poetry Prize. In 2011, she won the Hayden Carruth Poetry Prize and her chapbook Roughed Up by the Sun’s Mothering Tongue was published. In 2022, she received her third Ohio Arts Council Individual Artist Grant.
I wanted to have my own voice, shunting my way with every decision, every hip-bump of fate.
I clung to that like a stair rail to know where I was. I might have said “I am an I” if I’d read that poem. But who had time?
I was the cake-baker and the bill-payer, the one who called the shots. Finally, me, the youngest—and the weight of Mom settling inexorably. Her heart, her wounded legs.
She left off playing poker and enjoying her food and I bore up until she died. Never alone. Thank you for books.
On Daisy Avenue, the backyard was still hers. I lived there for forty years and thought enough.
I scraped all my money in a big pile. I made it serving the men. Assistant. Let me assist you like this!
Oh woody cellulose of the body, twigged and thickening. The top all airy and full of birds.
–after Ocean Vuong
Your dead friends stack up like cordwood that has yet to feel
a match. No good light can be made from their remains.
Susan, you will not forget how first this one made you bend.
He placed a hand on what part of your body. Friends and those
who are dead in other ways, their shine slipping away, their reach,
the most beautiful part of their body past the horizon, the light
going down. Susan, the house of childhood is distant, too.
What road could you take to get there and what would be left
in the vast irreplaceable past, drawn, sooty, with a spent match.