Serving House: A Journal of Literary Arts
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SHJ Issue 1
Spring 2010

[Two Poems]

Suzanne Parker


The green of this room reminds me
   that hope still exists in each new
	split of the crusted soil.

We place it there like sugar
   to sweeten a bitter drink,
	make it a rich

and complicated cup.  Aren’t these
   the words we wrap the unpalatable
	in as we wrap

around each other?  After the fighting
   that scared the dog,
	after the awful depth

and distance of silence, we fall to bed
   not for sex but harmless
	talk of dreams,

dinner on a tray and sleep,
   our holding less fierce,
	more an extra blanket

pulled against the cold.  
   This night, I know 
	I cannot love you

the way you want—perfectly,
   an answering “ohm,”
	the bowl’s singing reflection

so I pull you closer, spoon you,
   watch the snow of New Year’s Eve fall
	on the roof outside.

Somewhere, people have on party hats,
   are practicing a collective brand
	of hope, counting their way down 

to 1: how similar to ‘I,’ how it could be
   the letter looking over its shoulder
	at something past.


The Rug Merchants

I wish I were in Paris
drinking with Hemingway 
at Les Deux Magots 
but I am in Paris
at a makeshift desk typing
while a father gurgles vowels,
his child shrieking, sound 
and the smell of chicken trapped 
in the courtyard, doing laps.
Someone reaches out her window
for potatoes.  Above me 
is a painting of rug merchants 
in a souk.  The street is a swarm 
of mustard dots,
the earth ticking left
as they argue price.
I see the minaret lean, 
doorways start, then 
disappear like ghosts 
into stone and blue birds escape 
from the sky.  
Only the camel knows 
what it wants as it turns 
from the haggling 
toward a nearby arch
and tilts its head as if to listen.


“...we have been born here to witness and celebrate. We wonder at our purpose for living. Our purpose
is to perceive the fantastic. Why have a universe if there is no audience?” — Ray Bradbury