Susannah Lodge-Rigal & Daniel Schonning
2020 Summer Collaboration Contest Finalist
The home is a space of small besides. Second-light
clings like dust to the wooden floors. There is
movement somewhere underneath the home, soft as
memory, & the bodies inside try to listen. Stack of
books, little cupboard, wide bright windowframe
inside the wall. Wide bright window, one long inbreath
of light. The home is beside. The bodies inside move
this way & that, rest, then move again. The home is a
space inside, & somewhere in its high & low ceilings is
a memory of sky. The curtains move or they are still.
The high paintings exhale their colors. The bodies
inside move, rest, then move again.
Memory of sky turns the whole mind
blue. Its high-ceilinged questions. Little
cupboards meant for keeping. The
light & the words’ bright breaking.
Curtains wake with a shock each
morning, move as wind or water will.
Purple thistles just outside. A wonder
& a worry meant for keeping. Windows
blow the world back in. The sky blues
All movement a kind of
wonder, the light all
over everything, the
world a shock of purple
thistles, & the earth so
simple & empty, & the
home still listening, still
listening itself full.
Long yawn of June green. The blurred heat. Bluets
shaking. To move there as an animal waking. Day
soaked: dew sparkling, carrion beetles toward home.
Everything carrying. A green so long. The flurry of
duck feathers—bloodied & sprawled six feet across
the green. So long the grief-thick soundings of a living
bird. At the barn’s foundation, yellow fawn-lilies,
prairie trillium. The flecked white paint revealing the
barn once red. Come dark, dagger moths will gather by
floodlight. For now, their wings like folded eyes in
sleep. Memory fragile as perianth. Blood feather. A
world wildly repeating.
Strips of red in white, the barn’s quiet
so like longing. In all these forms, only
presence and absence. All of it is or is
not. Carrion beetles lift and move the
earth. Come grief, come dark, come
blood—come a fragile form, flooded in
light. Seeing, a kind of gathering.
Memory, a kind of carrying. In the
future dark, a dagger moth reveals
itself, but for now it sleeps in sun.
Sky so long, bright as
bloodroot, the painted
blue doors—to speak
through windows the
wind, the sky held in
branches, words quick
& luminous as fireflies
waking the June dark.
Like liquid, light forms to each vessel that it enters,
makes that vessel lovely. This morning, in this half-
empty house, the light is silver-silver-gray, is a faucet
handle gleaming. The bed and its fittings are a torn-
open envelope on which the cold air lingers. The light
is silver-silver-gray and spackles every corner, so that
the house seems, at last, like nothing but corners. It’s
all so lovely, so strange. It’s March and my closet door
hasn’t been closed in weeks. The furnace’s metronome
competes with the light. The heavy blinds are closed.
Through the window, I see the white pine; its
windswept center is all light, silver-silver-gray—
All light—the white pine’s high angled
windows. Sky’s blue spackle poured
between branches. & there, a flicker’s
bright neck, red against the bark—the
narrowing dark of its beak. The bird’s
slow metronome against the trunk.
Fleeting as the season, a scatter-song
flitting overhead. At the far fence,
chrysanthemum’s yellow sprawl, white
bellflower, only the memory of
Seasons known only as
types of light, a worry
of pine needles against
sky, all splintered all
prefigured and heavy in
the mind all gray and
silver—they all fill, they
fill, fill and make lovely.
The rain at a slant. Grass the color of late winter. There
is a fence threading the middle air & a barn angling sky.
There is a sudden stop where the roof ends. A sudden
start to a forever rain. Every color like a rusted bolt or
a stone used for building. Out here, the tangled veins
of a black oak. The crows gather in lines. To read them
from left to right. To hear in their call a kind of
weather. This is weather like a warning. Low tumbling
clouds. Forever rain. There is a sudden stop where the
roof ends, a rusted bolt on an old barn. An old barn
sewn forever to the rainclouds. There is a window & a
Wind from the near meadows sets the
front door clicking in its hinges. A dark
blue cloth unspools over the waist-high
table. The quartz kitchen counter is
rounded at its edge. In here, the yellow
light covers a stack of books, a red
vase. At the other end of the hall,
where the window has its shades drawn
shut, there’s only the memory of light,
only blue shadow.
To keep forever the
clicking hinge, days as
blue cloth unspooling,
eyes shut, to read
shadows from left to
right, memory of rain,
it seemed, forever,
forever, to keep.
Susannah Lodge-Rigal holds an MFA from Colorado State University, where she was the recipient of the 2019 Academy of American Poets Prize. Her poems have appeared in or are forthcoming from Seneca Review, Colorado Review, DIAGRAM, Puerto del Sol, Ruminate, The Journal and elsewhere..
Daniel Schonning poems have appeared or are forthcoming in POETRY Magazine, Crazyhorse, Puerto del Sol, Guesthouse, and elsewhere. His poem “Aleph with all, all with Aleph” was selected by judge Cyrus Cassells as winner of the 2020 Lynda Hull Memorial Prize. He studies and teaches in Colorado, where he is currently working on a book of abecedarians.