on the page magazine

issue no. 3, summer 2001
adult adolescence


Chickens Have No Myths

by Susan Terris

She vowed she'd never circle his house clucking
and making a scene. She'd never pester
his wife. But scratching with a pen,
she wrote everything down.

Once I was lovely and firm and young,
and that was power.
This will never happen again.
My keys have been stolen.
The face in the mirror is frowning.
There is no white feather of hope.
Time is an anxious lover.
Once upon a time, I could pull all strings.
This will never happen again.
I have maps but the print is too small.
Scarves won't knot themselves.
Stitches won't stay in line.
My cape will not enable me to fly.
If I try to walk on water, I'll drown.
This will never happen again.

She rolled her message into a sullen bottle
and lost it in the ocean, knowing it would,
somehow, wash up on his beach.

Susan Terris's recent books of poetry include Curved Space, Eye of the Holocaust, and Angels of Bataan. She has also published Susan Terris: Greatest Hits and Nell's Quilt, among others. Her work has been published in journals such as The Antioch Review, The Midwest Quarterly, Ploughshares, The Missouri Review, Nimrod, Southern California Anthology, and The Southern Poetry Review. Her poem "Palatino" appeared in the siblings issue of On the Page. To read more of her poetry, visit her Web site.

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