“Blessing for What Is Absent” by Susan Rich

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Blessing for What Is Absent

To hear the luxury of heat
pulse through the air ducts —

its whistles and bumps.
To readjust the bedcovers

against uninfected skin.
To move the sliding window

all the way to the left and listen
to the dogs’ dark chorus

in the well of night —
absence of ambulance, jet airplane —

to say I am here, holding
it together, somewhat

as branches beat against
the roof and water bellows

through cracked drainpipes.
How did I arrive here?

A passion for this season’s
boots, an art-deco umbrella stand

and so much more — for pleasures
of what is absent, no unmarked

graves, no evictions. What is
this heaviness imbedded

in our good luck —
this sharp, bronzed hinge?


Susan Rich

Susan Rich is the author of four collections of poems: Cloud Pharmacy, The Alchemist’s Kitchen, Cures Include Travel, and The Cartographer’s Tongue: Poems of the World (White Pine Press). She co-edited the anthology The Strangest of Theatres: Poets Crossing Borders, published by McSweeney’s and the Poetry Foundation. Rich’s poems have appeared in all 50 States and 1 District, including in The Antioch Review, Harvard Review, O Magazine, Poetry Ireland, and elsewhere.

Photo Credit: Alexa Nuzzo