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. 

Ears Everywhere

Someone else’s nightmare
is a stray dog that wanders in
and becomes your nightmare—
the number of bugging
devices in the house, the office,

the bar, everywhere.
Bugs at Panther headquarters
pick up a woman in a sports car,
Hey, I love you, pick up
me too, as she drives away.

Illegal surveillance tapes go missing,
the way sins are washed
off in the river, or inconvenient
facts. On a hunch, the detective finds
a transmitter in his own kitchen phone,

the wall phone with a long cord
that could stretch into the dining alcove,
another in the phone on the bedroom
nightstand. When were the Feds
in the house? Two bugs laid out

on the coffee table, the detective staring.
He decides to put them back, knows
they’re there, which evens the score.
What this is, he tells his wife, stroking
her hair for once, is a lot of trouble.

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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