May 2001

Suzanne Lummis


Photo by Rachael McCampbell Suzanne Lummis's poetry has appeared in Ploughshares, Poetry International, Solo, The Temple, and the new anthology of Fresno poets, How Much Earth (Heyday Books, 2001), among other exotic publications. Her book In Danger (1999) is a selection of the California Poetry Series/ Roundhouse Press. She directs the Los Angeles Poetry Festival and is a founding member of the high spirited, text-driven performance troupe, Nearly Fatal Women.

Take That Chance You've Been Considering    Click to hear in real audio

         from the Fortune Cookie Series

I'm over the railing now. Down below
the gray-blue winks in the light
and wrinkles up. To me it looks
like the meeting ground between lies
and the elusive truth, but don't trust
my take on it; I'm in a state. Trust Me,
says the official in so many words, after
he's inched as close as he dares without
pushing me, you know, over the edge:
Hey what seems to be wrong?
Wow, what a leading question,
but oh I do trust him, I do. Look,
I want to say, the sky is the exact
untroubled blue of the crayon I picked once,
years back, to make the sky blue.
And the broken parts of this world
are so far off that from here
they seem like cracks in a sidewalk. Deep down,
though, I'll bet the sea is fingering the bones
of jumpers, rolling them like old ideas
that never quite took—what do you think?
But I can't; he'd conclude I was mad. The police
have drawn a line the cars
can't pass while we work this through.
It's a nice day, he says, a good day
to talk. Want a hand?

I mustn't speak, just smile politely
as if to say 'thank you' or 'fine, you?'
From where I stand people look like ants,
that is, their hearts like the nipping
heads of red ants.
I can't explain this but suddenly
I want a bigness like the sea
or sky, a largess, an inheritance, the full
embrace. I want
to take that chance I've been considering.
Stranger, isn't it true, isn't it,
that out of every million,
nine hundred ninety-nine thousand
nine hundred ninety-nine drop
straight toward the obvious, but one



Suzanne Lummis: Poetry
Copyright 2001 The Cortland Review Issue 16The Cortland Review