Sue Rose




The Parch

Desert moves in. The coarse grain
of swaddling skin loses grip
as tributaries of blood, bones

and their porous underpinning
appear. This slow reveal
of armature is beginning

to tell. You can see it
in everyone who entered this age
before you, bowed and stripped

of their plush, as forms shift
from convex to concave
and shadows collect in dips.

Watch your mother’s hands
as she eats or drinks, her gold rings
jiggling as rucked bands

of epidermis move over muscle
and her face pleats and crimps.
Nothing can halt this schedule,

no deluge reverse a process
that ends with the body’s works
quietening in the air’s dry breath.


Sue Rose’s 3rd collection from Cinnamon Press, Scion, is due out in 2020. She is also the author of Heart Archives, a chapbook of sonnets paired with her own photos (Hercules Editions, 2014) and Tonewood, poems with photos of trees by Lawrence Impey (Eaglesfield Editions, 2019,

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