Sue William Silverman

Sue Silverman’s poetry collection is Hieroglyphics in Neon (Orchises Press). Her second poetry collection, If the Girl Never Learns, is looking for a home. She is also the author of four other books: The Pat Boone Fan Club: My Life as a White Anglo-Saxon Jew was a finalist in Foreword Reviews 2014 IndieFab Book of the Year Award; Because I Remember Terror, Father, I Remember You won the AWP Award in Creative Nonfiction; and Love Sick: One Woman’s Journey through Sexual Addiction is also a Lifetime TV original movie. Her craft book is Fearless Confessions: A Writer’s Guide to Memoir. She teaches in the MFA in Writing Program at Vermont College of Fine Arts.

 

If the Girl Turns the World Upside-Down

walking on her hands
exploring Blackbeard’s Castle,
one palm in front
of the other –
hair dusting
fever grass and the cracked
limestone floor –
Madras shorts sliding
up her thighs, seductive,
because did he, or she, really
sink beneath
the waves?

Later, the girl cruises
Route 17 in her doubloon-
colored, Rangoon-red-leathered
Plymouth, past disaffected
Jersey boys loitering corners,
a bottle of underage
Scotch between her legs.
Driving straight but drunk and
in reverse, for all
she knows, dashboard lit,
circling asphalt
like it’s a black scarf,
a sun-warmed boa,
constricting its grip.

She has no place to sleep,
so she won’t, preoccupied
as she is, with seaworms, salt
air, cannon smoke, warped
masts, frayed
sails – just another night
in the break-down
lane of mangled
axels, tire rims,
wheel covers, discarded
St. Christopher medals,
and bottle-tops – souvenirs
of mishaps, accidents,
and Acts of God
knows what.
She has
the only map to this
hoard of pirate loot.
No, that’s wrong. She is
the map.

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