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  • Writer's pictureSusan Michele Coronel

Vertebrate



The vertebrae in my knotty spine  are linking and singing   knees knocking   old bones creaking  I’m walking upright to reach the husks   in a corn maze   I crawl out   walk then like lightning I run   there’s a river to cross   where I bathe   make eyes at the moon & plead   o deliver me   from the repetition of conformity & the conformity of repetition   I have a vision   I’m lighting bonfires   smoke under my nails in black country air   I’m waltzing in a meadow  sinning by omitting   the most important details   of my life   storing secrets   in bouquets   of Queen Anne’s lace  hiding my feelings    in silver bottles   that shatter   on a shelf   I don’t recognize myself   in the mirror   I’m always older or younger   than the reflection   I find a pitchfork & copper cow bell     when the bell rings    my shins snap   my back breaks under the weight   of hoofs & heartaches   as a rooster crows   the coming   of the dawn.


Editor’s note: the poem is intended to read as a long-lined single stanza with particular care for the end lines. On a phone, the poem is best viewed in landscape.


Originally published on The Night Heron Barks.

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Hi, I'm Susan Michele Coronel

I'm a writer and educator based in New York City.

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Creativity. Productivity. Vision.

It has been a prolific year for my writing. You can find my poems in print and online in a host of literary journals, and I'm working on a book. 

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