Susan Rich

A WOMAN I KNEW ATE FIRE FOR BREAKFAST
October 24, 2018 Rich Susan

A WOMAN I KNEW ATE FIRE FOR BREAKFAST

And the light would tattoo itself across her mouth

like a flash of ink across a page.

The flames didn’t harm her, didn’t singe her lips

or her strong jaw. She ate fire for breakfast before

boarding the C train, before taking her seat

in her pink power suit, before drug store nylons which held her

like a sweet assassin or like the boss who asked her to stay

after the 5:48 train departed, the office the color of cicadas,

the world overturned to a place where she held

her breath, and lay across the desk like a lamb chop

or a slice of coconut cake. The boss’s breath coming faster now

until her mouth opened and she let the flames lift him away.

Susan Rich is the author of four books of poetry, most recently, Cloud Pharmacy, published by White Pine Press. Her awards include a PEN USA Award, a Fulbright Fellowship, and a Times Literary Supplement Award. Rich’s poems have appeared in the Antioch Review, New England Review, O Magazine, Pleiades, and elsewhere.