Arborist / Abortionist

by Susan Rich

Procured by anxious relatives
who demanded

a disappearing trick—

prepaid like a surcharge
for yard work done in the off-season:

his steel tool severing

a quirk of a tree limb,
attached to the nub of a stubborn bud;

he didn’t question
how I appeared,

transplanted into his waiting room—

never inquired as to the coauthor
of my infinitesimal text—

although he’d memorized its map;

extracted the troublesome little branch
that obscured the golden overlook,

and restored the river view.


Susan_Rich_Photo (1)Susan Rich has lived and worked in Bosnia Herzegovina, Niger, West Africa, and Palestine, among other places. She is the author of four collections of poetry: “Cloud Pharmacy,” short-listed for the Indie Fab Award and the Julie Suk Prize; “The Alchemist’s Kitchen,” finalist for the Washington State Book Award, “Cures Include Travel,” and “The Cartographer’s Tongue,” winner of the PEN USA Award for Poetry and the Peace Corps Writers Award (White Pine Press).

Her work has been published in all fifty states, including the Gettysburg Review, New England Review, Pleiades, O Magazine, Harvard Review, Poetry Ireland, and World Literature Today. She lives in Seattle, Washington.