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


Butterfly Catastrophe

She was not a bride in Elmhurst,
a novice or a parallel fourth track
on Bad Religion’s 1996 album –
she was ripe like 1993 – like bending
drinking ditch fog – wrapped-up
in her warmest whitest fakest fur –
she was not a feminist. She was not a teardrop,
nor an actress. Her ass was not ground round.
Yes, she said, her middle finger had been broken
on a grade school classmate’s head.

She was not a scrawny snot nose
snottier than her scrawniest calf.
She was not alive during the famine –
not a mime, not a lesbian nor a riding horse at the county fair.
She was not a split-die operator, a sweetheart
or server at the Sheep Shed. She was not
the real mistress to a tire-making tsar –

and she never worked at Cracker Barrel
and she never danced naked in a corn field.

She was as wild
and sharp as claptrap–
as a car-surfer, as a damned
ringing bell.

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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