Mother Chasm (Susan Muth)

Green hued sunflowers curling around a wise vase—

you gifted me your mother’s Dutch print.

And to think I considered a topographic map

in its place above my dresser.

The map housed a chasm,

a shaky line, a punishing fissure

through the Adirondacks—how magnetic,

the pull to visit a break in solid ground,

the rip in rock and mud as if it were cloth.

You thought it was ugly, décor

with no meaning, but we were having

such a lovely day—no residual bitterness,

no wine at lunch, so I agreed with you.

And it breaks my heart to write this poem

after such a lovely day. 


Susan Muth is a writer originally from Burke, Virginia. She holds a BA/MA in English and world literature from the Pennsylvania State University. She is an MFA candidate at George Mason University with a focus in Creative Writing—Poetry. Her work has appeared in journals such as The Northern Virginia Review, The Poet’s Billow, As You Were: The Military Review, and others. She is the poetry editor for phoebe and recently won the 2022 Joseph A Lohman III Prize. She currently lives in Arlington, Virginia.


image: Claire Cantrell Wood, Fine Outdoors Aficionado.