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. 

Woman Identified

A Tootsie Roll with arms,
the detective calls Janey
now that they’ve ID’d her.
She’s skinny with a single name,
like Twiggy; a Vogue spread

and being dead warrant
consideration by the tabloids,
a close-up of her face that’s not
a death mask, a point of view
that tsk tsks, Here’s a sorry chick

who couldn’t hack the good life.
She’s pretty, angles like knife blades,
torso straight, like a boy’s. In the largest
image, Janey looks untroubled
and is running in a bold-patterned

dress past a bridge, debris in soft
focus piled off by the side.
The detective laughs about it later
with his buddies, a strange photo
to sell clothes you can’t even

clearly see. Surrounded by rubble.
Painted-on eyelashes—as if
she’s a child’s doll—
she looks as if she could blow
away. Part of her did.

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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