Susan Okie: “Interior with Young Woman”


A borrowed house awaited,
empty but warm with intention—
soft white rugs for bare feet,
orange cushions posed on sofas.

A woman by Picasso kept one eye
on us. The other watched the lights
down in the valley. He played me
music from his country, asked

to dance. Awkward, I shuffled
to the beat. When he held me,
my body recoiled. I was a crane,
he a rooster, glossy, compact.

The sheets were spotless.
He’d ironed them, tugged
each corner tight, lit a candle.
The sweet scent made me queasy.

It seemed I’d left my voice in the valley.
I became the painted woman,
split into distorted parts,
one eye askew, looking elsewhere.

Susan Okie has had work published in Prairie Schooner, Bellevue Literary Review, Journal of the American Medical Association, Gettysburg Review, Beltway Poetry Journal, and elsewhere. Her chapbook, Let You Fly, was a finalist in Finishing Line Press’s annual New Women’s Voices Contest and was published last year.

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