Suzanne Marshall

Winter Fog over the Lake

Like wildfire, it blots out the world—
cabins, road, the village on the distant shore;
sweeps up the mountainside, billowing

through trees. Glazed branches lit
with sunlight and frost burst into flame,
a thousand sparks flying. Like love

passing, you know it will burn off
and fade; but, for a moment, this moment,
everything’s on fire.

 

In Pastures Green

After we close up our mother’s house, my sister and I
walk the grounds one last time with her, enter

the fenced patch where my father once raised bees—
now overgrown with prairie grass, aster, Queen Anne’s lace;

the hives weathered and long abandoned. Mom stands
still for a while, then points to one grass mound

after another. There’s Tiger, there’s Trudy. Our beloved cats.
And Amy, Heather, Wendy, Elizabeth. My father’s hunting dogs,

English setters with beautiful lady’s names. They’d been here
all along. Not gone on holiday to Hawaii, as she had told us.

We believed her then, because we wanted to believe—
the too-blue water, soft breeze, orchid leis around their necks.

Was death so awful she gave us a pretty postcard lie instead?
But what could be more perfect than to lie here,

beneath this clear Minnesota sky, part of the rich, black loam;
honey bees lingering in Queen Anne’s lace.

 


A retired English teacher, Suzanne Rogier Marshall has published professional articles, poetry, and a book on teaching writing. Her poems have appeared recently or are forthcoming in Gyroscope Review, U.S. 1 Worksheets, Watershed Review, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, The Tule Review, Slant, and other journals and anthologies. Her first chapbook Blood Knot was released in June 2015 (Porkbelly Press).