The Procession of the Living by Susan Cossette

The Procession of the Living

You return to that old place.
The musty salt smell of low tide floods back flush.
You did not notice it when you lived there,
Twenty-five years.

Green lawns lush,
shrubs carved into false spires,
obscene roses, impossibly fluorescent hydrangeas–
perfect, expensive, artificial world.

Ten cars crowd the curb
near the neighbor’s grey clapboard house.

I never really knew the man,
saw him in passing, smiled and waved.
Three small children, petite blonde wife.

Then the Saturday run, then the heart attack.

The joggers still jog.
Mothers pull sunburned children to the beach in red wagons,
a slow cadence to the sea.

The purple clouds and fog hang over the horizon at sunset,
florid balloons wafting in stifled air.


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

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