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Suzanne S. Rancourt

a man from Stockton killed a bear

November 13, 1976, the paddock’s underside in white paint scrawl declares. You hadn’t been killed yet and I was giddy buying two pieces of Samsonite luggage French’s mustard yellow, from Ferrari Brothers the center of town at Main and Board by the one traffic light. Autumn, 1976, had already seen death by motorcycle, murder, age - you were simply number five of eight the royal flush culminated Christmas morn. I’m trying to keep the cook stove going but too hot too often for too long has buckled and split the iron. This is where Ravens slip in - a ribbon of smoke on their way to the river that rests in September sunset How well one can follow the replacement instructions for an Aladdin Loxon Mantle made in Brasil written clearly on yellowed crumbled sheafs - its mothy scraps carried by a ghosted breeze white foam river floating down this Milky Way a spangled spattering of stars poured lubriciously from stalis containers a birded broadcast of straw.

red dot wattles

she is unfazed by the two toms blustering full tail fans their aggression flaming skin heads blue and wattles blood red – the size of a boy’s scrotum the toms square off, rotate slowly captured by competition & narrowed vision the jennies steal the moment to feed freely spring fresh, prize nuggets, before males gobble such life bearing delicacies – last fall’s partridge berries this year’s bugs n beetles toms drop their wings and push inflated chests heave their presence – steady pressure – together repel apart to press against presumed inferiority in this open field where raptor drones glide coyote & grey fox pace in wood line shadows


happy as summers with stinging bees that chase children through fields - across lawns dancing in the basement on rainy days pillows stuffed in tee shirts and warmup pants summer crew cuts still bristly laughter and squeals – we are the California Raisins this memory i hold in my heart in my hands a circular picture frame my left thumb strokes enamel pink & greens mauve variations encase red rhinestone bodies with Kelly green eyes – rose dappled morning glories tethered to a pale green vine wraps ouroborolly – oppositional simultaneously addictions can be like that we never saw the scout bee coming from behind


Suzanne S. Rancourt, Abenaki/Huron, Quebecois, Scottish descent, has authored Billboard in the Clouds, NU Press, (Native Writers’ Circle of the Americas First Book Award,) murmurs at the gate, Unsolicited Press, 2019, Old Stones, New Roads, Main Street Rag Publishing, 2021. Songs of Archilochus, Unsolicited Press, forthcoming October 2023. A USMC and Army Veteran, Suzanne is also a 2x Best of the Net nominee.


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