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Two Poems

+++++++++++++++++++++++and then after, telling him why

Because we were the bones
of bees++++++++++++++++++++++++and too fragile

to last beyond the hive:
that basket of simple++++++++++++++buzzing

Because everything about salt
and jab was precisely++++++++++++++what I liked

Because your skin and mine
had become++++++++++++++++++++a contamination

Because I could stroke the air
more readily than I could+++++++++++your throat

Because I wanted to sing
you to sleep++++++++++++++++++++with my fingers

Because the nights droned on
like fire alarms: terrible++++++++++++but necessary

Because you were an everyday
apple, become++++++++++++++++++a near-consumed fruit.



++++++++++for the fox that walked 2,700 miles across melting ice

Little fox, how long will you stay
in my imagination, steadily
traipsing toward dawn? Put

down your silvered coat
and jaw, mined from your den
in Norway. Lick your nailed paws. For

millennia, you’ve been stored,
my needle-nosed plier, among
hammers of your Arctic

home: antlered reindeer,
clawed bears, and weaponized
salmon, flung hard

as peppered snow, made errant
by dirt. But when ice warms,
it reconstitutes

in darts — as sharp
as you, brave tooth. So
what did you prise

from home’s belly
when you left it for colder
cold: its myths of fish? What

taste kept you slipping
across continents, meted
in miles, from your glossed

caps in sunlight, all
summer — to this
Canadian post? Soldier

dodging an end to your
epoch among Swedes,
Danes, and Finns (and their bêtes

noires: the Russians), unhook
your red tongue. Then wash
till night turns you

into a sickle, an almost
closed o. Sleep in my stunned
mind, softer than your body —
bent on glaciered roads.

Susan Comninos‘s book manuscript was recently shortlisted for both the Marystina Santiestevan First Book Prize and the Cider Press Review Book Award. She teaches writing in Albany, NY.