Friday, August 5, 2011


      susan ambrosino

You're safe in the slow graze of your days
Watching the potential fire of the night
Through the open door
Thinking about a short step outside into combative blissful
Wood piled high
Waiting for a match
You hesitating at the table
In your bright fluorescent kitchen.

It doesn't really matter how long it takes.
You just plod along a few inches each day
Drink some wine
Take your vitamins:
Bone builder and thyroid cofactors
Eat quinoa
Play with your grandbabies
Make sure they will grow up
Remembering who you are.
Make sure your children will want to
Visit your grave
Bring you flowers as you lay there unaware
For all time eternal.

You plan on living a long time.
You take care of your teeth
Your joints
Your lumbar spine
Your flexible open mind.
But most of all
You keep your husband healthy
He will always be there for you
He also has no one else
But you.

Sometimes you feel like a big round mass
of earthy Boule bread
Meant to be torn apart roughly
With the hands out in a field
Near a shovel and a mound of dirt.

And sometimes you feel like the dough of white bread
Able to be pulled in any direction
Shaped in any way.

(Green is the color of trees
Though for some it's the color of money)

Then you smooth your hair
Pull in your stomach
Pose yourself sideways
And become
A Focaccia

Oh! so delicioso!

In your imagination.

It's all just the imagination.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


          susan ambrosino

Bone is quiet
But bones hear everything
From their vantage point inside the body
Protected from the ravages of the outside world.

Ultra-violet light, wind, cold
Drumbeats, snatches of conversation
It all breaks through the silence within the flesh.

With no understanding for the force of energy
A reverberation outwardly
That is inwardly received
You wonder one day why the barometer has dropped.

You can't imagine running wild
Through the dark forest alone
Into the sounds of insects and bird calls
With wet dripping overhead
And something scurrying in the underbrush
Thinking about the eyes that watch you
The noses that smell you
What ears are hearing you
Or how afraid they may be
Of the woman who dares to run
Boldly through the woods at night alone.

So you offer yourself something to be done early
In the light of day
Which gets you to bed on time
Keeps you safe in the house with the doors locked
Bed covers tucked up to your chin
The myth of the woods remaining
A child's good night tale
With Goldilocks staying home
And Little Red Riding Hood
Never leaving her bed

But if you dredge up the courage to go
It's a good idea to take some equipment
Heavy shoes
Peanut butter
You never know what you may find

When you look into the quiet of the bones.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


                      susan ambrosino

You'll never run off with some clothes
A debit card and your Toyota Prius
Tearing across the country
To some out-of-the-way desert spot
In the wild west

Instead you spend much time walking
Carefully through live trees
Dodging roots, stumps, low branches
With the thought you'd like to change your name to
Moves Through Branches
In Pursuit of Nothing

It doesn't matter how long your walk will be
As long as it's enough to renew the history of many years.
If you need to get back to the house
For a glass of white wine
Or apple cinnamon tea
Never thinking about the connectivity of events
It's ok
You just go home.

The world bends
Can be worked like clay
If you talk to it

If you let it talk to you
Like it did when you were twelve
A newborn woman forever skating
At Coffman's Pond during Christmas week   
The world an unexplained innocent opening.

Your own private mountain
Starts with one stone every day
One that just fits in the palm of your hand
Drop it in the center of your yard.

You never know if what you say will make a difference
So you just go home
And go about your business
Wondering why it is you are still here
Steering the wobbly wheelbarrow of your choices
In the direction you want to go
Thinking you passed through grace by special selection.

You set yourself up
Blindly planning your life without knowing
That it was fine to be exactly who and what you are
Taking each day in small amounts
A type of slow graze that led you home

With doors suddenly opening
You standing surprised
Gazing into what you thought was the wrong vestibule
Thinking yourself in the midst of strangers

Living another life
With a future to fret about
And the need to invent sins for the confessional.

When you were six
The building across the street burned to the ground
You watched from the kitchen window
The amazement of flames and smoke
Fire trucks all night long
Then missed school the next day
Went to the RKO movie theatre
Ate popcorn

That's what mattered the most
The popcorn
With lots of butter and salt.

Being afraid of dying is silly.
When you're dead you don't know it.
It's like the unborn being afraid of life.

And you can only hope the little pains of daily life
Go on and on.

Saturday, June 4, 2011



         susan ambrosino

Sometimes all it is you're doing is

Planting geraniums
Folding clean laundry

Lifting grocery bags from the car
Beating eggs into a bowl of flour

As you suddenly realize
You've moved somewhere else

Away from the world you inhabit
Into the space of your mind

Where you've learned to understand the silence
Passing through the world

Knowing its inability to judge you
Has saved you

And you nearly let go
But you don't

Instead you slowly return
To the non-porous certainty of life

To continue making a cup of coffee
Knitting a baby sweater

Deadheading your perennial garden
Or scrubbing a pot.

Friday, June 3, 2011



         susan ambrosino

Working in the garden teaches patience.
A child playing piano does better in math.

Soft, furry animals are responsible for the disappearance
of lettuce leaves in the garden.

None of the purple mums from last fall came back.
You don't own nature.

It owns you.
You don't own the creatures who chop the carrot greens unseen.

Like you don't own a child
Can't make him play piano.

Anything that comes to you comes free.
It's easy to stand in the open doorway

Watching the pale tendrils of leaves
Moving out from last year's old wood

Watching empty flower pots
While listening to one small cheeww, cheeww, cheeww

In the maple tree
Smelling a modest rain from the night before.

Nobody knows what will walk or not walk
At the end of time on the forest floor

Wondering about the thunder or the sparrow
Or the daffodils that are always there.

Like the summer you spent on a farm
When you were nine

Hiding behind the hedge along the porch
While the mulberry tree near the barn dripped purple

The spooky, old, rusty car in the back lane
Seemed like a phenomenal mystery

And the crumbling stone wall along the property edge
Was a shelter

Dividing the world of children
From the adults

Who would never understand them.
Though the winter is long

They keep cozy warm
Waiting for the right time to bloom.



     susan ambrosino

Do you think that when it all goes up in smoke
You will be one of the few who survive ?
Do you think you're one of the enlightened ones ?
Do you think you will rise from the dead ?
From the ashes ?
Do you think you will be remembered ?
Do you think you will have a gravestone ?
With flowers ?
Descendants coming to look ?
To think of that woman who lived so long ago
And died just like the rest ?
When you are gone
Will it be the same as before ?
When you look away from the forest
Will  it still be there ?
Will it change ?

Your bedside table lamp keeps burning
Beside your night time glass of water
Your library book left open
A bookmark picturing a tree placed
Upon the page
As you lie in bed
With a burned face
Dirty feet
One earring missing
Hungry, thirsty, tired
But too alive to sleep

Just because wild grasses grew in open fields
Weeping willows drank from shallow ponds
Blackbirds sat on fallen branches
Meadow hillocks moved in waves
Silken air breezed over your skin
Old stone walls tumbled softly to the future
Dirt paths led you off
To vast blue sky

You can't sleep
You're too alive.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


      susan ambrosino
You spent the morning reading through poems
Written by a poet
For whom it is impossible to determine
Which of his poems is his best.
Then the tiny mouse of desire inside you
That longs to write
Squeaks a final gasp and runs
Back into a hole by the baseboard along the floor
To hide again in safety
Lick her wounds
Pant until her breath calms
So she can venture out again
Into the castle of poetry
And make another attempt
To cross the vestibule.