–after Eavan Boland
Heat rises in ribbons from the street as an old crow
sits at the edge of a large black rock, looks
at the pool of water in the rock’s center.
He does not dip his wings to splash and cool
his corvid body. Perhaps the water is already too hot,
like the old Union Steam Baths, long closed now,
where we took our tired, wet bodies after days
of camping in the rain. How we sat on wooden benches
wrapped in thin towels, allowed clouds
to fill the room, laughing, disappearing in steam.
We had the baths to ourselves. We didn’t know
the last salmon cannery had just closed and the town
was in mourning. Years later, the boats
would bring back sardines, and when those
were overfished, anchovies, at least for a time.
The old crow pauses while his mate
shrieks at him from the telephone wire. He glances down
at his dry dusty feathers, then rises in flight
through the ribbons of heat to meet her,
to search together for cool water.
–after “What I Want to Remember” by Ada Limón
At four, how you hefted an imaginary bat,
feet planted in the dusty packed earth,
and swung and swung at those imaginary balls.
How you grew into your impossibly long arms and legs,
good-naturedly taking the dog for a walk,
taking out the garbage after just one more reminder.
You, in the kitchen, how you hug your mother
in that slightly embarrassed way,
your mother who has driven you to practices,
watched your games, cheered for you,
made you cheese sandwiches
when that was all you would eat.
You tilt your head over hers, your body
a kind of shelter while the sloppy and exquisite world
waits for you just outside the front door.
Born and raised in Indiana, Suzy Harris has lived her adult life in Portland, Oregon. This year she published a chapbook called Listening in the Dark (The Poetry Box) about her journey through hearing loss and learning to hear again with cochlear implants.