POETRY CRITICISM FEATURED ARTIST CONTRIBUTORS GUIDELINES ABOUT TIMELINE
Susan McLean


Deep Cover

Nakedness is the best disguise.
When you discard the final veil,
it always takes them by surprise.

Because men think that compromise
is weak--that if you yield, you fail--
nakedness is the best disguise.

Though you expose your breasts and thighs,
your mind is as opaque as shale.
It always takes them by surprise

to find out that the body lies.
Surrender can conceal betrayal.
Nakedness is best. Disguise,

equivocation, alibis
can be seen through. To lay a trail
that always takes them by surprise,

hide nothing, and you'll blind their eyes.
Go ask Judith. Go ask Jael.
Nakedness is the best disguise.
It always takes them by surprise.




Desire

Desire casts out her net, and you forget
the way you thrashed and gasped in it before.
Though you're too old to want to play coquette,
       desire casts out her net
of loss and longing that you can't ignore,
floated by lies and weighted with regret.

Your feet, you think, are firmly on the shore;
you're not a fool, to play Russian roulette
with all you care for, just to feel once more
that mad, electric vertigo. And yet
       desire casts out her net.




Hazard

The boys who asked you out were never quite
the ones haunting your fantasies at night--
but roses that aren't picked will still turn brown,
and losing is the only game in town.

The ample curves that once were your allure
now give you backaches that you can't endure.
In pain, even your smile looks like a frown--
but losing is the only game in town.

Your grandmother, one friend and then another,
your childhood crush, your father and your mother--
you can't afford it, but you lay them down
when losing is the only game in town.

You hope a few more sunny days are due.
Time answers, "They will come, but not for you."
So "dream," which was a verb, becomes a noun.
Losing is the only game in town.

































AUTHOR BIO

Susan McLean is a professor of English at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall, Minnesota. Her poems and translations have appeared in Atlanta Review, The Formalist, Iambs and Trochees, Arion, Measure, The Classical Outlook, and elsewhere. In 2004 she won a McKnight Artist Fellowship/Loft Award in Poetry, and in 2006, the Leslie Mellichamp Prize from The Lyric. In October 2006, her chapbook Holding Patterns was published by Finishing Line Press.

POETRY CONTRIBUTORS

Melissa Balmain
Lorna Knowles Blake
Catherine Chandler
Jehanne Dubrow
Anna Evans
Midge Goldberg
Dolores Hayden
Juleigh Howard-Hobson
Julie Kane
Luann Landon
Susan McLean
Julia Randall
Terri Witek

FEATURED ARTIST
Therese Chabot creates delicate, ephemeral installations carpets, dresses and crowns using flower petals and natural materials to speak of the stages of life and the paths we are given to choose from.
ARCHIVES
LINKS
POETRY
32 Poems
The Academy of American Poets
The Atlantic
The Christian Science Monitor
The Cortland Review
Favorite Poem Project
The Frost Place
The Iowa Review
Light Quarterly
Modern American Poetry
Measure
The Poem Tree
Poetry
Poetry Daily
Poetry Society of America
Poets House
Raintown Review
Slate
String Poet
Valparaiso Poetry Review
Verse Daily
Women's Poetry Listserv
The Yale Review

CONFERENCES
AWP
Bread Loaf
Poetry by the Sea
Sewanee


PUBLISHERS

Barefoot Muse Press
David Robert Books
David R. Godine Press
Graywolf Press
Headmistress Press
The Johns Hopkins University Press
Louisiana State University Press
Northwestern Univ Press
Ohio Univ Press
Persea Books
Red Hen Press
Texas Tech Univ Press
Tupelo Press
Univ of Akron Press
Univ of Arkansas Press
Univ of Illinois Press
Univ of Iowa Press
Waywiser Press
White Violet Press

BOOKS
Alibris
City Lights
Grolier Poetry Bookshop
Joseph Fox Bookshop
Prairie Lights
Tattered Cover Bookstore

OTHER RESOURCES
92nd Street Y
Literary Mothers
NewPages.com
Poets & Writers
10X10