Susan de Sola

The Cornell Boxes

Terms and Conditions

I am
Gravida 3
Para 4
Mater 5.
Thrice pregnant,
Bore four,
Mothered five,
My own Oedipal
Electra-fied riddle
Explained by
My eldest (step-)
Daughter to me.
One before two,
Then two after three.
One step,
Two sons,
Then twins,
Gravida 3
Para 4
Mater 5.


"I would have made a good mother," she said,
a quiet conviction. "We visit once a year,
we gave him a grave…Daniel."

Is it a name if he never knew it was his?
Perhaps he heard it, in those first hours,
which were also the last hours.

Small and slow-blinking, eyes bewildering
blue, with slips of fingers
that would not curl,

he could hear her, and knew
her voice from before.
"Daniel," she must have said, many times.

"The hardest part was giving him back,
but the nurse was kind."
"Daniel," she must have said,

many times, in all scales, making
a name. During those few hours,
too long and too short, it was mostly a word

among other words. But still, it carried love,
called to a person, and while not unique—
think of all the Daniels—

it made individual. The love in its sounds
conferred the person. It was spoken,
before it was engraved.

Mouse Time

They say all creatures' hearts may last
an equal number of beats,
a billion for the whale as for the mouse,
an equal measure to be drawn.

And so the whale's slumberous drum
for decades dilates water rings,
and so the mouse, from dawn to dawn
spins whole seasons on a wheel.

The scrap of mammal sings
a rushed song of hurrying mouse,
the too-long tail marks its trail—staccato zeal,
a countdown of timeā€”in starts.

Railroad Bird

Little railroad bird,
I give you a bite:
A flake of croissant
Sets your feathers in flight.
No fear of the shod,
You take butter, batter.
Your head seems to nod,
Little bird on the tracks,
Cementing a deal.
You're as tall as my ankles,
That small, that real.


Susan de Sola's poetry has appeared in The Hudson Review, The Dark Horse, Ambit, Birmingham Poetry Review, River Styx, North Dakota Quarterly, Fringe Magazine, Measure, Light, The Hopkins Review and Per Contra, among many other publications and anthologies, including the forthcoming Best American Poetry 2018. She is a past recipient of the David Reid Poetry Translation Prize. She holds a PhD from The Johns Hopkins University and is the author of several monographs on architecture and design, as well as numerous critical essays. As a photographer, she created the chapbook Little Blue Man (Seabiscuit Press). She is Assistant Poetry Editor for the journal Able Muse, and lives near Amsterdam with her family. She has recently won the Frost Prize.


Michelle Blake
Jane Blanchard
Barbara Lydecker Crane
Lee Ann Dalton
Susan de Sola
Michele Leavitt
Lynn Levin
Marjorie Maddox
Carolyn Martin
Bernadette McBride
Susan McLean
Kamilah Aisha Moon (Featured Poet)
Sally Nacker
Patrice Nolan
Katy Rawdon
Leslie Schultz
Myrna Stone
Gail Thomas
Nell Wilson


The most recent addition to The Mezzo Cammin Women Poets Timeline is Louise Erdrich by Angela Alaimo O'Donnell.

Charlotte Innes was the recipient of the 2018 Mezzo Cammin Scholarship to the Poetry by the Sea conference.

Megan Marlatt:Looking like large puppet heads, it was "anima", the root of "animation", that led me to the making of the big heads, (or "capgrossos" as they are called in Catalonia where I learned the craft.) Anima is the soul or what breathes life into a being and to animate an inanimate object, an artist must insert a little soul into it. However to bring attention to what is invisible, (the soul), I chose to mold its opposite in solid form: the persona, the ego, the big head, the mask. Nearly every culture across the globe has masks. They allow performers to climb into the skin of another being and witness the other's world from behind their eyes. While doing so, the mask erases all clues of the performer's age, gender, species or race. In this regard, I find them to be the most transformative and empathic of all human artifacts.

32 Poems
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