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The Charmed Life

November 5, 2009

by Susanna Rich

It takes nothing — talent nor courage —
to be a sleeping princess
in a house of glass — Tiffany doves
floating in door lights, gold

-camed windows, panes that mirror
interior lights over outer darkness.
Things break only from others’ use —
etched flutes and tumblers; the crystal

witch’s ball hung to ward off evil;
Murano lamps; silvered walls;
the central vacuum…
Glaziers come, like charioteers,

with ladders and Unrue racks
to unscrew old strike plates, bleed
the furnace, crawl on their bellies
amongst toads and kittens

transparent in the walls. This is living
in the sky, in the full neon of the sun,
glitter of stars, a store of Magic
Ginger Ale — phosphate bubbles

unreleased — the aspic mold of pansies,
the heart-shaped ice cubes for guests
who bear their envy, to the altar
of you… For a spell to be a spell,

it must be broken — the rescuer must be
disguised, the rescued must seem to sleep
in a life of liquid suspense — perfect,
cold — waiting to be shattered…

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Susanna Rich (website) is a 2009 Emmy Award nominee for the poetry she wrote and voice-overed for Craig Lindvahl’s documentary Cobb Field. She is the author of two poetry chapbooks, Television Daddy and The Drive Home (both from Finishing Line Press); the 2008 Featured Poet of Darkling Literary Magazine; and a Fulbright Fellow in Creative Writing. An internationally published poet and prose writer, Susanna tours the one-woman audience-interactive poetry experience Television Daddy, and is in production for The Drive Home (opening in 2010). She is Professor of English and Distinguished Teacher at Kean University in New Jersey, teaching such courses as Emily Dickinson, William Blake, and 20th Century Women Poets.

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  1. November 19, 2009 at 12:34 pm

    Like the princess described, this feels to me like a poem in waiting. The phrase “aspic mold of pansies” perfectly evokes the sense of unnaturally preserved beauty diminished by the very fact of its preservation.

    • November 21, 2009 at 8:41 am

      Thank you, Peg, for reading “The Charmed Life” and for taking the time to respond. The reader creates the poem in her reading, and you offer me a deeper way to understand my poem.

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