Susan McLean: “Rationale”


Because she knew it wasn’t possible,

but liked the blankness she became while trying.

Because she dodged control on principle,

and noncompliance pleased her more than lying.

Because no one would understand, so why

explain. Because not knowing made it easier.

Because the words, recalcitrant and shy,

would dance just out of reach, as if to tease her.

Because the scorn she risked had dulled its edge

from overuse when she was young. Because

she loved the unheard tunes, and wouldn’t pledge

to honor veto’s stamped and vetted laws.

Because she didn’t care if it was proper

or likely to pay. Because no one could stop her.

Susan McLean has published two poetry books, The Best Disguise (winner of the Richard Wilbur Award) and The Whetstone Misses the Knife (winner of the Donald Justice Poetry Prize), and one book of poetic translations of the Latin poet Martial, Selected Epigrams. Her poem have appeared in Able Muse, Mezzo Cammin, Think, and elsewhere. She is a professor emerita of English at Southwest Minnesota State University.

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