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Susan Jennifer Polese


By Susan Jennifer Polese

The tide rises
The coast shimmers
And I smile and sigh
And recall
Coming out of those waves
Chilled and ready
Pushed by the sea
Tumbling with crusty eyelids
Salty mouth
Skin glistening
Gasping, afraid and excited

Our ancestors arrived that way
Delivered into the world
Sprouting legs and walking like fresh, damp foals
Around the beach, up the mountains, across the plains
Their Manifest Destiny to be
Reptilian no more, now furry, legged, live-birth beings
Clannish, while peeking at the stars
Barking, and drinking water from fresh lakes
Dining on flesh, baying at the moon

And still, we remember our becoming
The bloody patches, the white linen, air surrounding us
Tides of atmosphere
Parting it lets us emerge, holy, hungry, searching
Violent and beautiful
Taken in
Floating on the breeze, our slippery skin molts
Our many toed feet burrow into the sand
Upright and alert
Faced with the certainty of change

Pain Becomes

Pain does the laundry
folding sheets
into small, tight squares
stacked and ready

Pain serves dinner
little Bento boxes of foods
separated and safe

Pain sweeps the floor
fast and with fury
bracing for the next time

Pain takes nightly pills
set in a row on the counter
arranged to manage, not cure
to maintain, daily

Pain lays down carefully
eyes close slowly
all is orange swirls and tingles

Pain goes deep
allowing slumber
surrendering to nothingness

Then the movie starts
smell of popcorn
sound of hushed chatter
a slurp of a drink

Pain has become
            a heroine
            a cowgirl
            a freedom fighter
            a discovered relic

Pain morphs, pushes, requires
constricts and expands
Like a plot that stretches and surprises
Like breath that keeps on coming


Susan Jennifer Polese, LPC NCC is an American poet, journalist, crisis counselor and award-winning playwright whose poems are included in the Writing off The Walls exhibit at Hudson Valley Museum of Contemporary Art. Her plays are seen regionally and at such venues as La Mama Experimental Theatre Club, HERE Performing Arts Center, The Midtown International Theatre Festival, and Planet Connections Festivity in Manhattan, NY. Trained in New York at The Wonderhorse Theatre, Herbert Berghof Studio, and Hunter College she has taught writing through Purchase College, Axial Theatre Company and has facilitated “Playwriting in Paradise” in Key West, Florida. Her work is fueled through social justice and is often performed as fundraisers/awareness enhancers for non-profits. Susan is a member of The International Centre for Women Playwrights and Theatre Without Borders. She attended La Mama’s International Playwright Retreat in Umbria, Italy and was a resident-artist at Bethany Arts Community, 2020. She is published in Alexander Street Contemporary Drama Collection. Susan is a member of The Dramatists Guild of America and New York Women in Film & Television.