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Suzannah Russ Spaar

Then away

I played football with the boys

but only with a flick of finger

on the diner’s gluey table. Elbows


peeled away with ketchup

patches. I patched up my jeans,

cut off the frays, turned them


from shorts to skirt to a scrap

on the bag in the attic, full

and brushed with dust.


The diner is gone now

though I still wear its shirt

—a large slice of moon.


I do not recognize the home

when I go there. I do not

remember the litanies


I repeated. Did I expect

to be a Litany, folded over

into the tightest square?


There are many songs

I only sing

with the volume way up.


I can say anything, never heard

a friend scream until

on a roller coaster and loved


that collection of bodies,

unconstrained and strapped

to the tracks. I gasped


when I first kissed the boy

on fourth street, wrestled grease

from my chin. I went to a protest


there; the bodies

screamed out. I wore a blue dress

when a man held a gun to my middle.


It was bright blue, toxic, stained

with ketchup and I left it far away.

There will be a prayer without a blue dress.


There will be no more scraps for me

to cut into napkins. I have washed my face

every day since the boy in first grade


called it dirty. Rot repeated, then away.

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Suzannah Russ Spaar is a poet from Charlottesville, Virginia. She received her MFA from the University of Pittsburgh where she served as a contributing editor for Aster(ix) and poetry editor of Hot Metal Bridge. She is the co-author with Lucia LoTempio of the chapbook, Undone in Scarlet (Tammy, 2018). You can find her poems in or forthcoming from Luna Luna, The Boiler, and elsewhere.

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