Sustenance
Susan Sonde

Sustenance

Lord, You thread my veins with light, sparse
as the pallor shed from a pleated paper globe.
In this ambiguous in-between of seasons I wear
the suit of fallibility. You palm my soul and drink.

Your massive hand squeezes the raw dark flesh,
draining off its color. Soul, soul, the color of my
soul. What am I to make of these metabolic changes?
You toss my hat into the blue dizzying heights of ozone.

I have dread. I have temerity. My skin turns black
and the slag slides off. I am cold. A fistful of earth
houses within my skeletal cage. As if blood were pearls
and each a seed from which shelter might spring.

Oh tree, oh root, a cold wind rides my bones. There are
uses: peasants make bitter wine from my flesh. The newts
have been sunning themselves in the house of my bones.
The ground is a pillow of stone, a citadel housed in glass.

So there it is and here I stand outside it—lost, all talent
for self consolation, moist hair flatted against my head,
sun bronzing the day, which makes everything
seem lonelier when it wanes and the light stands down,

my mind racing, mis-judging, angling over the ungilded cliff.

Susan Sonde

won the Capricorn Book Award for her collection In The Longboats With Others (New Rivers Press). Her recent chapbook, Drumming On Water, was published by Finishing Line Press, and Dryad published Inland Is Parenthetical. Sonde has been a finalist in the National Poetry Series and has contributed to North American Review, Barrow Street, Narrative, Southern Humanities Review, Mississippi Review, and many other journals. "Sustenance" appears in her new collection-in-progress.