The opposite of anything is the thing itself—     Say, a face or a body.

Say, lilacs blooming from within the barrel of a gun.

As it pertains to the living, say then: each day is a crash course in survival.

Say, under extreme conditions,

a mother may kill and / or abandon her young.

As such, say it possible at every baptism, we arrive as low-hanging fruit.

That we are as strange & as meek as thy neighbor.    Say, especially, this means

what we can’t say otherwise:     say—  of guilt & love, only the smallest

child can explain the difference …

Say, then, you believe the sun burns as extremely as it hungers.  That violence figures

as a mercy which yields great returns on a body.

Say then: I am worthy.

Say, this time, I will be more than the slow infinity of my name in God’s mouth.

That should night come, I will be given

proper burial.    At the very least—    say:  one day,

a perfect animal will make a house from my bones.



Susan L. Leary

Susan L. Leary’s poetry has been published or is forthcoming in such places as Posit Journal, The Christian Century, Heavy Feather Review, Arcturus (Chicago Review of Books), and Into the Void. She is both a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee, and her chapbook, This Girl, Your Disciple, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press in August 2019. She teaches English Composition at the University of Miami (FL). Find her at

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