Susan Michele Coronel

A girl’s life

is about dancing
as an amenable animal,

entering a crown of ghost
spaces where she was once

invited but is now banned.
Her pelvis is an envelope

that gallops in the rain.
Not a catastrophe this cave

of unbelonging. Better
to yowl about sowing

& dawning, invite the genesis
of authentic pink breath,

not death, not mock orange.
On a clear night her ankles

lift, the pungent past
of boyfriends abandoned

in the olive of her mind.
No clutter, no violence,

but the aching boat
of ambiguity,

a slip of speech in
quiet darkness,

where a mouth is still
forming what it wants.


Mother, Can You Hear Me?
after Yehuda Amichai

Sometimes saliva,
sometimes stories—

My mother is a tree in an orchard,
covered with a kerchief of leaves.

O widows with winter in their breasts,
take more time to tell tales.

My ears are shells curved to the wind
to split secrets open.

I walk toward a wall of sound,
discern syllables & scribbles.

Through my heart’s hole,
a whistle, distant thunder.

Always something expunged,
recycled like glass.


Ode to Self-Love After 50

I’m on the border of a dyed-orange landscape
yearning for birdsong in tight spaces

with anointed brow & clogged pores / I want
to be unencumbered / tossed as taut tendrils

loosed from skull & belly to slip spare change
to sons / clip consonants from the mouths

of daughters / my ankles are moonslicked
to counter humidity’s increased hormones

but why is the threshold so dry / long vowels
salted with silver strands / inserted into cups

that spill like blossoms but are safety pins
unfurled as I listen to autumn’s ear

deafblindbruised with blasphemous charm
existence is exhaustion that dared to escape

from nothingness / derived from a tulip’s
walls of flame / o compromised coupling

the stars are in command / with nanoseconds
of noticing / help me brave the thin blue line

outlining my thighs / as I sleep with myself
nude body against cold glass panes

when I pickpocket the past / I look for
remedy in confession & the balm

of lost hours / poke holes in wrinkles
sink into the vegetable world unattached

I’m finely tuned / river stones tumbling
not looking back for a second glance


Susan Michele Coronel lives in New York City. Her poems have appeared in publications including Spillway 29, TAB Journal, The Inflectionist Review, Gyroscope Review, Prometheus Dreaming, Redivider, and One Art. In 2021 one of her poems was runner-up for the Beacon Street Poetry Prize, and another was a finalist in the Millennium Writing Awards. She has received two Pushcart nominations. Her first full-length poetry manuscript was a finalist for Harbor Editions’ 2021 Laureate Prize. To read more of Susan’s poems, you can visit her website at or her Facebook page (Susan Michele Coronel).