Susan C. Waters


A cry holds the night open

I lean forward to the window:
wind rubs raw through the pines
and the land is full of drifts.

It’s certain no one walks there,
or cries, except ghosts.
The further north travelled
the more difficult the measure
of a nightit could be a lifetime
or a numb tongueless moment.

                         A great raw night
I have gone to sleep in many,
awakening as branches scraped windows,
thinking, I could survive this
a week but not if it lasted forever
within you, like a doxology
learned as a child.

Sugar maples toss and clatter.
The cores are thick and slowed.
Still, they move slightly
and the creatures of the meadow,
under layers of snow, will burrow
toward a morning light.

I thought once, when we were small
children, that we were lost in a storm.
We pulled sleds through open fields,
a woodlot and over drifts
in the dark nightwe had stayed too
Long and the wind picked up.

I was distracted by the whirling
above and around me, the way the storm
cupped around us, the great night
opening like a door.
My brother held back branches
And we slowly moved past.


Susan C. Waters is a graduate of the writing program at George Mason University.  Currently, she is Professor of English at New Mexico Junior College. She teaches composition and literature survey courses.  Additionally, she teaches world literature. Susan started out as a journalist covering hard news in upstate New York and for 13 years was a magazine editor and writer at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, College of William and Mary.  Her publishing credits are extensive, ranging from the Washington Post and the Baltimore Sun, to the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation and the U.S. House of Representatives.  Susan has won six prizes in poetry, including the Mary Roberts Reinhart Prize, George Mason University.  She has been nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize in Poetry.