Suzanne Parker

If, in separation,

the yolk breaks and the spoon proves
the books says, this

is a test of wills and if the soufflé flattens,
a good cook will solve a problem with a crown

of vegetables and a flamboyance of name.
In this way, scorched becomes Cajun,

the yellow streaking the cloud
of meringue is now a peacock’s

withdrawing tail. Julia enthuses
about the feckless opportunity of disaster

so let’s smash it—flatten, crush, pulverize
and pound. If the heat is turned too high,

call it flambé and flick the match into the pan!
Guests will appreciate your cunning

and courage and the next week's parties
will be filled with small flames.



She is a fury of concentration,
small body boomeranging

against the sharp edges
of possibility. No entry.

Letters capped, in bold.
A museum guard is rigid

beside the mammoth metal shell
punched with stars, a jitterbug

of light and space the girl knows
as she does the willow’s roots

settling between them, the branches
parting for her name as her mother

calls from the door yet again.
Something about crawling inside.

The girl licks the stale air as she tilts
and slants her gaze higher, noting

foot and handholds. All that smooth,
cool steel. If not in, then up.

Suzanne Parker is a winner of the Kinereth Gensler Book Award for her poetry collection Viral (Alice James Books, 2013), which was a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award and was on the National Library Association’s Over the Rainbow List of recommended books for 2013. She is also a winner of Tupelo Press’s Sunken Garden Chapbook Award for her collection Feed (summer 2016).  Her work has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Passages North, Notre Dame Review, Diode, Cimarron Review, and Hunger Mountain.  Suzanne is a poetry editor at MEAD: A Magazine of Literature and Libations, and she directs the Creative Writing Program at Brookdale Community College in New Jersey.