Lodge-Rigal & Schonning


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Contest Finalist



Susannah Lodge-Rigal & Daniel Schonning

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
light on. 

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.