By  Susan Browne

Featured Art by Carol M Highsmith

I walk down my neighborhood street called mountain
although there is no mountain     only rolling hills
although hills don’t really roll        & as I look
at a window display of shoes & pass by the candy store
a gasp happens in my head    a quake in my heart     they aren’t
here      my father who loved sweets
my mother who loved shoes    & the sun shines
on a world of orphans      I quake along mountain street
like a rolling gasp although if someone asked
how are you I’d say fine      like most of us are
& aren’t       I thought sadness was a prison
but it connects us & if a chain it should be
one of tenderness     my father died
two years ago although sometimes I say a year
a way of keeping him closer      can’t do that
anymore with my mother      need math on paper      the ache
woven into each leaf although there are birds & nests
we live in a tsunami     waves of being & non-being
but I’m no philosopher standing at the counter buying
bunion pads     feeling drowned & drying
under fluorescent lights & warmed by the smile
of the clerk who blesses me with have a great day as I go out
to mountainless mountain & remember donovan’s song
playing in my parents’ house in the sixties      first there is
a mountain then there is no mountain then there is

Susan Browne’s poetry has appeared in PloughsharesThe SunSubtropicsThe Southern ReviewRattleB O D YThe American Journal of Poetry, and 180 MoreExtraordinary Poems for Every Day. She has published three collections: Buddha’s DogsZephyr, and Just Living, which recently won the Catamaran Poetry Prize. Browne’s other awards include prizes from Four Way Books, the Los Angeles Poetry Festival, and the River Styx International Poetry Contest.

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