This Could Happen

If you kept walking you would eventually step out of yourself.

You would leave the bones of your body,


the bloodlines to all that you loved.


You would be free of breasts and legs, liberated

from the eyes of body admirers—


To travel this earth again like star lily or skunk flower


with the forbearance of golden bees.

If you kept walking out of yourself


you could begin again as seawater, as spindrift.


Don’t worry you’d say to yourself

you’re a virgin non-body, you’re a witness


to ten thousand new worlds.


No lungs, no heart, no breath—

Irresistible now, what might you see?


A bird’s dying shudder


or lovers knotted in a plotline of release?

You’re an example now


of nothing, a fountain of nowhere—



Susan Rich is the author of four collections of poetry including Cloud PharmacyThe Alchemist’s Kitchen, named a finalist for the Foreword Prize and the Washington State Book Award, Cures Include Travel, and The Cartographer’s Tongue, winner of the PEN USA Award for Poetry and the Peace Corps Writers Award. Along with Brian Turner and Jared Hawkley, she is editor of The Strangest of Theatres: Poets Writing Across Borders. She has received awards and fellowships from Artist Trust, CityArtists, 4Culture, The Times Literary Supplement of London, Peace Corps Writers and the Fulbright Foundation. Rich’s poems have appeared in the Harvard Review, New England Review, and the Southern Review.

Issue #42 December 2014
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