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We are gone in ourselves.

One second we try and avoid

knocking down the spider’s web,

only to walk right through it

a minute later, unnoticed.

We are cut like the melon, made of mush,

drowning in the sweet, thick summer stick

of the mind that keeps churning.

The plants never stop singing directions.

But oh the distance from hearing

to listening is measured like fermentation—

the need of the dark cold waiting, added spice,

and suddenly the bubbling mess of delight

comes into perfection for us to taste.

We worked for it, with it, and against it.

We bite down on the rolling swell

of our limitlessness and cry. I cry before

I swallow. I think again on how long

it took us to see the truth and know

it’ll all burn up before we can apply the lesson.

But some magic lingers. Something good

carries on like a braid full of seeds,

buried deep in the darkest dirt.


Jacqueline Suskin is a poet and educator who has been teaching workshops, writing books, and creating spontaneous poetry around the world since 2009. She has composed over forty thousand improvisational poems with her ongoing writing project, Poem Store. As the Artist in Residence at Folklife Farm from 2019-2021, Suskin founded a retreat program and continues to host artists from around the world. She lives in Detroit where she works as a teaching artist with InsideOut Literary Arts, bringing nature poetry into classrooms.