Susanna Lang’s newest collection of poems, Tracing the Lines, was published in 2013 by the Brick Road Poetry Press. A two-time Hambidge Fellow and recipient of the Emerging Writer Fellowship from the Bethesda Writer’s Center, she has published original poems and essays, and translations from the French, in such journals as Little Star, New Letters, Prairie Schooner, December, Blue Lyra Review, and Poetry East. Book publications include translations of Words in Stone and The Origin of Language, both by Yves Bonnefoy. She lives with her husband and son in Chicago, where she teaches in the Chicago public schools.
Look, you said. Look now—
tulips brimming red among the daffodils,
cowslips gathered at the river, under the hawthorns
in their confirmation dresses.
Two little girls in white run to the church.
Their father calls after them but they do not listen.
This is the peak, you said.
Tomorrow it will be gone.
But I also love the moment after, tulips
with their mouths wide open,
petals beginning to curl back,
a little brown at the edges.
In the Garden
My father-in-law deadheads his roses
early, before sun has dried the lawn.
A black-capped bird waits near him,
knows where the seeds are hidden.
Sometimes it lights on his hand, a reminder:
Do not cut too much. This is the 97th year
my father-in-law has lived—how many dead roses
has he snipped in his lifetime, making room
for new buds to emerge? And what has brought
this chickadee into his hands, the brief
touch of its feathers, its change of heart?