poems by Susan Snively

A Woman Holding a Balance

Second Glance

Spencer Tracy


Spencer Tracy

Key West

In the rinsed bubble of Sunday morning,
the plastic roosters on the sarcophagi
are rescued from melting
by a January breeze flavored with north.
Cobalt-blue and lime-green beads
shimmer in Elizabeth Bishop's doorway,
the colors brightening minute by minute.
Later, when the clouds have moved to Cuba,
Hemingway's cats come out to be fed -
Marilyn Monroe, blonde, sumptuous, toothless;
mean, grizzled Spencer Tracy; Jennifer Jones,
a wayward opportunist; and Gertrude Stein,
who is just as I imagined,
solid, repetitive, a picky feeder.
Here is the afterlife, or its beginnings,
the first stage of pthe last question
"Where am I?"
answered only by the next meal, a diversion,
a boat clearing the horizon
all at once.p It will take time to unload
its suspicious cargo.p Spencer Tracy, in his Hyde-suit,
shows Jennifer his teeth.p He's old and put-upon.
there's a lot about the world he doesn't like
but he claims it anyway,
his property, littered with felled fruit.

From THE UNDERTOW (University Press of Florida, 1997)