Danielle Susi

Mourner’s Cheek-Piercing Scene

I saw the serpent with its forked head split like a dagger. Like a skate’s bladed wings. Devil in my throat and whistle on my tongue. My lips form the name of some deity and beg. To be effigy and vessel, to be a bird moved in five directions.


The whole house is white lilies. Starlings settle on the water, their bodies a pile of debris in the harbor. Apparently the lake is clearer now than ever before. From above you can see the wreckage. The carnage. Things fallen deeply. Dying stars make the red so plentiful. Like blood. Like the amethyst face. An altar of storms to honor the crown. Salve pulled from the tree we buried her under.


Your face, where my fingers slip through straight to teeth. Fist around a lip. Take what blood I can offer. Your dead are so hungry. The spear that binds us ear to ear, gnawed like the horse’s bit.


The way a body folds has always been so strange to me. The way it can be taken again and again. Sometimes without asking. The bird, box, learned containment.


Danielle Susi is the author of The Month in Which We Are Born (dancing girl press, 2015). Her writing has appeared in Knee-Jerk Magazine, Hobart, The Rumpus, and elsewhere. She received her MFA in writing from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She currently lives and works in Ogden, Utah. Find her online at daniellesusi.com.

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