In the Beginning

Suzanne Highland


A hand fans the coals

to make a fire to make raw meat

edible. Another hand

hangs idly by.

Their life is a camera

hung on a swing in the woods.

Like a switchboard it captures

the sun in increments. The stream

is an unerring backwards

clock-face. Two legs propel

themselves towards a ball.

The ball is a watermelon named

“ball.” The woods are a painting.

Naming is one way

to understand a thing. The fire

is roaring or at least it’s usually

roaring. There is a smell called jasmine

and an air called summer. The birds

make sex or they make war.

The hands are interested too.

They hold themselves out

to be invited inside.







SUZANNE HIGHLAND is a native of Florida currently living in New York, where she teaches writing in public high schools and at CUNY. She has a BA from Florida State University and an MFA from Hunter College, where she was a recipient of the Miriam Weinberg Richter Memorial Award. She has also been awarded fellowships or prizes from The Community of Writers at Squaw Valley and Vermont Studio Center, and her poetry has been published or is forthcoming in Cosmonauts Avenue, Bone Bouquet, No, Dear, and LEVELER, among others. Visit her at