The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Susan Yount’s “House on Fire”


House On Fire

This house is kindling—
with a wood burning stove.
He has her hiding in the bathtub

where she shaved her legs twice today.
She can hear the cockatiel tweet.
He shoves trees into the stove.

Her mother is a gray bluebird
toasty in a tarnished coop.
She can hear the green fern carol,

This house is a pyre
A hot ham poked with cloves.
He has her hiding in the goat pen

where she fed her goats twice today.
She can smell the rabbits fry
in black cast iron skillets and grease.

Her sister is a chicken breast
baked dry on a cracked glass tray.
She can hear the horseweeds sighing,

This family aflame
Roast beef and potatoes.
He has her hiding in the maples

where she kills herself twice a day.
She can hear the red stream calling,
a shallow ditch swelling with pain.

Her father, a devil,
his pitchfork in the hay.
She can hear the damp grass whisper,

Your house ablaze, get out.

This selection comes from Susan Yount’s poetry chapbook House on Fire, available from Blood Pudding Press. Purchase your copy here!

Susan Yount is the Editor and Publisher of Arsenic Lobster, works full time at the Associated Press, teaches online workshops at the Rooster Moans and is the founder of Misty Publications. She recently earned her MFA in poetry at Columbia College in Chicago while working full time and raising her son. Her poetry has recently appeared in several print and online magazines including Roar, Jet Fuel Review, Booth Journal and Menacing Hedge. Susan is a 2003 recipient of The Lynda Hull Memorial Scholarship in Poetry and in 2010 she was awarded first prize in the 16th Annual Juried Reading competition at The Poetry Center of Chicago. In her spare (!) time she moonlights as madam for the Chicago Poetry Bordello. Her first poetry chapbook is the sequel to this one, Catastrophe Theory, and can be found at Hyacinth Girl Press.

Andrew Koch’s poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Bluestem, Connotation Press, Mojo, Rust + Moth, and others. Although a Tennessee-native, Andrew presently lives in Spokane, Washington with his wife and cat while teaching literature and pursuing his MFA in Creative Writing at Eastern Washington University.


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