The water is tipsy with boats and tides,
the lifeguard is bull-dog grim
and ready to bull-frog through the waves,
should a danger begin.
But summer is stubbornly placid.
Toy with your drink. You are
adept at, adept at, adept at (fill in the blank).
Your cocktail napkin
is fluttering, a lightweight CV.
Champagne bubbles, little kisses
expiring, goodbye, best of luck!
Celebrate a breeze, a clever phrase
before companions jet-set away
and the sun settles
into a winter glower.
How, oh how, to approach the buffet?
Perhaps a hunch
will arrive soon:
the finger of God, a tap
on your tan shoulder.
Sit tight till then.
It’s a good day, says the speedboat,
bent on its mission. You wave.
Fourth grade. From the forbidden
box of textbook discards
I stole Cultures Around the World
for it contained Iceland:
torqued icebergs breathing cold,
waterfalls of incomprehensible deafening speech,
hot springs, blond bathers steaming.
In a delicate city
of wood-frame houses, of doors painted blue and yellow,
shoppers chatted, strolling
over the carcass of a volcano. A fearless people.
I could pronounce the name: Reykjavik, Reykjavik.
something Moses might say to part the waters.
Later, on TV: alongside Iceland
orange and red jetted up.
A lava leviathan
pushed the ocean aside
then solidified. Puffins landed,
strutted, seemed to find everything
normal—but I didn’t.
More world had been born,
a whole island.
Should I write the Bible a new chapter?
So, Creation was
striking off on its own
in Iceland, that furnace, refrigerator, bathtub primeval,
that goad to warm, chill, soak me
If I had to, to steal it.
SUSANNA BROUGHAM's poetry has appeared in The Seneca Review, The Cincinnati Review, Smartish Pace, Salamander, The Southern Humanities Review, Yemassee, The Potomac Review, and other literary journals. She received an emerging artist grant from the St. Botolph Foundation and works as an editor at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA.