The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: The Damage Done by Susana H. Case


This selection, chosen by Guest Curator Solstice Black, is from The Damage Done by Susana H. Case, released by Broadstone Books in 2022. 

Content warning for gun violence

Flashback: Cross Hairs on the Back of Your Neck

A postcard drawing of the cross hairs
of a rifle, Traitors Beware
sits in your mailbox. The old man

at the newspaper kiosk on the corner
has a pistol with silencer under
his woolen coat. The fountain pen

in the pocket protector of the life insurance
salesman who tries to talk you into a policy
is a cyanide gas gun. Your whitecoated

pharmacist is working slow but sure
behind that counter, punching powder
to pack arsenic into pill capsules.

He owns a target rifle that can blast
a sparrow mid-song at two hundred yards.
Your mechanic stays up late

to study booby traps, the metal piled
on his table. Minutemen know more
about you, Janey, than your husband does.

Susana H. Case has authored eight books of poetry, most recently The Damage Done, Broadstone Books, 2022, which won her a third Pinnacle Book Achievement Award. Her books have previously also won an IPPY, a NYC Big Book Award Distinguished Favorite award, and she was a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Book Award and the International Book Awards. The first of her five chapbooks, The Scottish Café, Slapering Hol Press, was re-released in a dual-language English-Polish version, Kawiarnia Szkocka by Opole University Press. She co-edited, with Margo Taft Stever, the anthology I Wanna Be Loved by You: Poems on Marilyn Monroe, Milk and Cake Press, 2022. Case worked several decades as a university professor and program coordinator in New York City and currently is a co-editor of Slapering Hol Press and a co-host of the literary series W-E: Poets of the Pandemic and Beyond.

Solstice Black (she/they) is a queer poet and novelist living in the Pacific Northwest. They are currently undertaking a bachelor’s degree in creative writing. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in ChautauquaThe Fantastic Other, and A Forest of Words, among others. They hope to pursue an MFA in creative writing and a BFA in visual art in the next few years. Her cat is both her greatest joy and torment.

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