Susan M Parr




The apple tree
(so like a town)
drapes changepurse arms
across the rotting wall. 
In every apple's flesh,
a spot of black,
a hole—
this town's
in trouble.

But the leaves
(wrists of tissue,
windy rough
draft symphony)
do not fall.
The leaves' town is
cottony, capable.





"Indeed I dwell in the throat of a god" —Saint-John Perse

Silent busboy
with zigging skeleton—
mutton platterer—
he who lilts salami,
who does away salad bawdy,
who totes the bitten parsley
in befuddled falls,
and never apolo-
gizes, as he arcs,
and jazzercises—
one dies
to know the algorithm
he's flung along,
the uncordoned code
of this boy's barnstorm;
one haggles to have him,
to inspect his ajar eyes
as he collects the glasses
and one wonders, as he does—does he

speak a language?
And would he be a wag—
or would he be a chore to hear—
or could he, speaking, finally conjoin—
meaning, could speech be the cord
on which a being's hung—
conduit, from stable,
secret trunk—
ladder, to which his wandering's
insecurely tied—
apotheistic sluice,
the body
vines on and denies?






"Fruit Loop" was inspired by an old tree I know. Every year it leafs out with much fanfare—then  jokingly drops just a few big wrecked apples.

I recommend reading "The Answer" in the imagined voice of Eustace Tilley (he's the fellow in the top hat who appears on the cover of The New Yorker's anniversary issues). Of the poems I've written for various voices (like Björk's—see DIAGRAM 7.5), this one was unique in that I found an unknown voice first, an illustration later, the name last of all.