Suzanne S. Rancourt

p o e t r y

To Whom?

a trickle of north wind flutters across my face and i hear geese honking

a backdrop to blue jays’ warning calls


to become invisible or become a tree or

become the fire of fury, a tornado –


this concept of walking among the people unnoticed

knowing what we carry inside ourselves knowing


the truth of the action

how do we tell that story?

Sumi-e – self portrait

my crow’s feet have become parentheses paraphrasing

the bone structure of my skull, cheekbones and lower jaw


my face is an ink work of katakana brush strokes

from the deliberate and pointed brushes of wolf and weasel


don’t insult me with false flattery when each line etched on my flesh canvas

is the only narrative worth telling – the arroyos


from my eyes have cradled rivers of sorrow

and profound joy and laughter – is there a brush stroke for that?


the left corner of my mouth always is the one that pushes

like sound waves or ripples or bear marks on trees


pushes up to greet the arcing cascades from blue eyes

when not green


and there between the eyes – the point of insight

perhaps i scowl too much, furrowed


that’s what they call it, furrowed, for the water to flow

from the heavens like when i stand in the rain


nourished and the story of gratitude and the hair white and free to blow

like dandelion seeds or white belly feathers of breath


like meaning that has escaped inked kanji

like meaning that a line can no longer hold





shag hair cattle

russet, black, brown with full horns

stand with thick tongues of slow words

among droplets of alpine blossoms

yellow, purple, white


we dine

in the dining car

sharp summer sun splits thick clouds

glares off peaks shoots

down into my second-class seat



i ate silence

read the menu

by way of rail, pen, jam

and two espressos spiked with anticipation


forests, fir and deciduous, deliberate

replaced by steel and aluminum rooftops peaked

with cranes, trusses, smoke stacks

where are you now, omniscient traveler

counting grapevines, vineyards, tunnels?


a sliver of mountain

we slice into the valley

a javelin of intent

arterial balloon of arrival

a blood blossom of population

Of Abenaki / Huron descent, Ms. Rancourt’s book, Billboard in the Clouds, was the winner of the Native Writers’ Circle of the Americas First Book Award.  Her forthcoming book, murmurs at the gate, is scheduled for release May 27, 2019.  Ms. Rancourt is a USMC and USA veteran.