Two Poems by Susan Cossette

Helix Nebula

At the center, a knowing red eye—
Hot dot glowing, regarding the universe with cold disdain.
A thousand sapphire crystals ring the pupil then scatter,
Glittering into nothingness.

You do not blink.
You observe the blackness in silence.
You are studied from afar, photographed and measured.

We want to know you,
Beyond the disconnect of light years, the vacuum of dark distance.

Short-lived star, the core of you imploded ages ago,
Detritus of dust and gas cast into hollowness—
Hydrogen, helium, plasma.

Are you a dying star, or a star nursery?

Gravity will lure the cold crystals back into your scarlet mother’s eye,
Coalesce into new life and possibilities–
The ceaseless cycle of disintegration and rebirth.


The Blue Nude Wishes the World Was a Snow Globe

I am not lost.
Leave me in peace, to count paint chips on the worn wooden floor.

I am not singular.
Just indistinguishable from your vague, empty background.

Content to shut my eyes,
Curl inward, as you coldly tally each vertebra of my bare spine.
My bruised thighs delineated by crude black brush strokes.

I expect or desire nothing.

I dream of being rooted in a plastic dome
Among fir trees and singing red finches,
Thatched cottages, distant gothic cathedrals, smiling gnomes.

A shake brings silver snow, dark crows.
For a second I am that forgotten child.

The music box bells tell me, sleep in heavenly peace,
As particles rest on the plasticine ground.


Susan Cossette lives and writes in Minneapolis, Minnesota and is a two-time recipient of the University of Connecticut’s Wallace Stevens Poetry Prize. The author of Peggy Sue Messed Up, her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Rust and Moth, Vita Brevis, Adelaide, Clockwise Cat, Anti-Heroin Chic, Loch Raven Review, As it Ought to Be, The Amethyst Review, Cross and Crow Keys, and in the anthologies Tuesdays at Curley’s and After the Equinox.

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