To stab with fangs.

Open mouth, body coiled.


To set the hook.

With a jerk, my father tightens the line,

a flash of silver fighting

against his pull.


The impression left by a raptor’s wing.

Fierce talons pierce the night.

A scurry of soft prints, then excrement

enclosed by a brush-stroke of wings.

End mark on snow.


To slap with force.

My father hit me when he came home from work,

the back of his hand across my mouth.

My mother said I’d called her names.

He hit again. Again.


To cancel, cross out, delete.

I forget the names I called my mother,

but not my father’s hand.


A form of protest.

Sit-in, sit-down, slow-down, boycott, wildcat,

hunger. Hunger at my core.


Electric discharge between cloud and earth.

White coursing light splinters bark, splits

the heart of the black gum tree.


Aggressive action without warning.

You open the door at 3 a.m. Body coiled,

heart split, I hurl an empty bottle at the wall

above your head. Flash of silver.

Glass everywhere –

splinters on our bed.


To lower, take down, dismantle, surrender.

I’m the one sweeping bottle shards

into the recycle bin.


To move purposefully in a new direction.

I shove your clothes into paper sacks, set them

on the curb with last week’s news.

End mark on snow.


A former middle-school English teacher, Suzanne Rogier Marshall has published professional articles, poetry, and a book on teaching writing. Her poems have appeared recently in The Tule Review, Written River, the Aurorean, contemporary haibun, and Freshwater as well as other journals and anthologies. Suzanne’s chapbook Blood Knot was released in June 2015.