Served Cold It shook me when I learned you’d died four years ago. I never knew I’d feel so soothed and gratified. It shook me. When I learned you’d died, I thought of you, the two-faced guide who’d trashed me then. I had no clue. It shook me when I learned. You died four years ago. I never knew.
Reverdie How can I praise the crocus that noses through gray snow, whose urgent, guileless focus denies what it should know? With suicidal daring it plies its reckless art, incandescent, bearing a sun within its heart, flaunting its brief elation that ice storms may destroy, shaking my resignation with purple clumps of joy.
Fan Dance You think you glimpse it, but the hand is quicker than the eye. Like any trip to wonderland, the journey doesn’t go as planned. Just before heaven can be scanned, soft clouds eclipse the sky. But if delivered on demand, the same bared breast and thigh would bore you, seeming tame and canned. Desire prefers the contraband, shunning the obvious and bland for what’s oblique and sly.
Susan McLean, a retired professor of English from Southwest Minnesota State University, is the author of The Best Disguise, which won the Richard Wilbur Award, and The Whetstone Misses the Knife, which won the Donald Justice Poetry Prize. She also has published a book of translations of the Latin poet Martial, Selected Epigrams, and is the translation editor for Better Than Starbucks. She lives in Iowa City.