Suzanne Morris


I know I shouldn’t take
what’s happening personally

after all, it’s been 25 years since we
finally sold the house

and the neighborhood being
so close to town

you couldn’t expect it to
stay the same.

Besides, given the ravages
of hurricanes

to houses down the block,
closer to Brays Bayou,

I had all but resigned myself

to FEMA razing our house
to the ground one day.

Yet there it stands
in the picture, grown

disproportionate to the
small lot on which was built

two bedrooms, one bath,
in 1940.

Though at the time Daddy was
proud to say

those bones could support
a second story

I doubt he imagined
the result

being well known for his
keen sense of proportion.

A huge tarp has been draped
across the front during construction.

Concealed underneath

twin peaks poke up
like a pair of shoulders

as if the house were
caught by surprise

stepping out of the tub
and grabbed a bathrobe.

And that’s how I feel
seeing the changes underway:

a little shocked, and


Oswald’s Coffin — December, 2014

November 22nd, 1963,
a closed case
in history.
Painful, but closed.

Now, suddenly,

what’s to be done with
the pine coffin
where blighted
bones first paused to rest

is a matter of contention
the outcome of which
is none of
my business, yet,

If I may propose a solution?

Let us remove the
bullet that killed
Lee Harvey Oswald
three days into his fame

and stand the man upright again.

While he blinks back to life
and regains his bearings–
bones confused,
clacking together–

let us return the pine coffin,
unused, to the
Miller Funeral Home;
let us

return the
cashier’s check for $710
which covered, also,
a dark suit, flowers, and vault
for the coffin to lie in.

Now, let us
return to Oswald
his infamous gun.

Then let us walk him
back through
the door of the
Texas School Book Depository

and up the shadowy stairs
to the spot before
the window
looking down on
Dealey Plaza

and let him wait there,
gun in hand,
for the President’s

to churn swiftly through
the cheering crowd
and come within
his range.

Now let us
focus his gaze on
the tall, vigorous man
with hair of blazing red

and his adoring wife
garbed in bright pink,
roses in her lap,
white gloves on her hands,

as they smile and wave
all around, the Dallas sun
glancing down.

And when
the sharpshooter
has his gun sights
squarely on our President–

quick intake of breath;
gun hand aflame–

let us bid him hesitate

thoughts turning soberly to

the wife and two children
dependent on him:

What’s to become of them?

Flourish of smiles
and waves,
shirt cuffs flashing
like regatta flags

as our President spies
a lid of dark cloud
closing over
the sun,

the blue
November sky
to ashes

a well-meaning voice echoing:
Don’t go to Texas.

He thinks of Jacque
and John-John and Caroline:
What’s to become of them?

The moment passes

a pleasant vision
dispelling the cloud:

he is waving from
his sailboat
off Hyannis Port,

a flurry of hands
in sight,
answering back
from the shore.

It is Sunday afternoon.
He turns his face
to the sea.


For forty years, Suzanne Morris was a novelist, with eight published works beginning with Galveston (Doubleday, 1976) and most recently Aftermath, a novel of the New London school tragedy, 1937 (SFASU Press, 2016). Often her poetry was attributed to characters in her fiction. Nowadays she devotes all her creative energies to writing poems. Her work appears in several anthologies, and has been published at The Texas Poetry Assignment, The New Verse News, and Arts Alive San Antonio.