The dew on her face
as a former beauty.
Silver curls crawl
out of her black hood, through the ivy.
You have been lost—
wandering through brambles all night.
Her corpse is the first clear thing
you see. You nudge her toe
with your own, and step back.
A corpulent plum
is cupped under her palm
with a fingerless glove between
you and her and it.
Even in death
she wears a mask—
to slice her open
to make certain
she has no heart, nothing impure
You desire to kiss her
across the creases of her forehead—
a kiss of solidarity
as though she were your own
Winding into her hair, wild as your own,
you join her on the ground,
breathe into her cold ear
your version of the story, your love for her.
That much, you owe her.
Susan Cronin studied at Rutgers University, Sarah Lawrence College, and The New School, where she earned an MFA. Her poetry has appeared in journals such as Mid-American Review, Octopus, RHINO, Quaint, White Stag, Nashville Review, and DMQ Review.
Artwork: Mary Chiaramonte, “A Harvest to Hold”