Susan Terris

TAKE TWO: BLACK JACK / Branwell Brontë & His Drinking Mug

is it my carrot top    or the pale sisters    painted
yet myself removed     turned into a sloe-eyed pillar
since I am not quite real     crave gin and poppies

Black Jack for sleep    sin-steeped    set my bed afire
for I lust    keen to peel off their gossamer collars
(blow-up)  unhook    denude       taste cherries

and Black Jack hidden down there     Anne in
a book-lined study      a heathered heath for Emily
then for Charlotte    my Charlotte    castles in Angria

I    the intruder    am ill    enslaved by the unreal
what I want      to die standing up like my pillar
but even more    (climax)    true friend to Branwell

Brontë    I want Black Jack    mine    theirs
and that sodding poppy    sweet canker-rose of Lethe

• • •

Susan Terris’ most recent books are Take Two: Film Studies (Omnidawn Publishing, Fall 2017), Memos (Omnidawn Publishing), and Ghost of Yesterday: New & Selected Poems (Marsh Hawk Press). She is the author of six books of poetry, sixteen chapbooks, three artist’s books, and one play. Journal publications include The Southern Review, Denver Quarterly, Georgia Review, and Ploughshares. A poem of hers from Field appeared in Pushcart Prize XXXI. A poem from Memos was in Best American Poetry 2015. Ms. Terris is editor emerita of Spillway Magazine and is a poetry editor of Pedestal Magazine.

“Take Two: Black Jack” was previously published in Ghost Town.

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