Suzanne Gardinier


The vase of tower fragments and his mother’s
last dress made ashes the wind blows loose

How the rain reaches into the winter ground
and warms and turns the grasses loose

Walk on your knees says the guard to his father
Give me a name and I’ll turn you loose

The harbormaster’s hands in the morning
on the knots the night tides tried to pull loose

The peony petals pressed in round bud
then unfolding Your shirt’s pink Then falling loose

How the years found what she held so tightly
and took it Prying her fingers loose

Left in the tree he passed every day
A man The tatters of his clothes flapping loose

The smallness of the barbarians’ airplanes
after the emperor’s airplanes let loose

How he sat coughing shards of his nation’s hatred
How she wanted to keep him and he said Turn me loose

The meadow paddock by the intransigent
sea broken open and the horses run loose

She’s remembering your way with her bindings
Yrs bridled How you tighten How you cut them loose

Suzanne Gardinier is the author most recently of Iridium and Selected Poems, Dialogue with the Archipelago, and Today: 101 Ghazals. She teaches at Sarah Lawrence College and lives in Manhattan.