Susan Parr

Two poems from Susan Parr’s Devera

followed by a note on the author

The Billions

O, a gulf,
a good gulf,
a laugh-pile gibbous
of ocean, a turn again,
turn again
to land. Cuddled,
a shoving, a glug-glug
gulf lives in an Earth-bucket
foamful of fish to come running.
O, a gulf,
a good gulf,
a goof: some girls
in a hammock; one holds
the center,
the other ones wave,
the other ones have
petroleum in their hair;
the other ones have
crude in their hair.
Whip them for insulting the profit.




In the voice of Darlene, who is opening a second can of Schlitz

If you can’t be happy,
well, you can be.
I know your socks are still on
your neighbor’s feet.
Torpor and old shorts
don’t matter much. Yes, you
might have to take yourself
to court. Hair?
Hair’s for horses.
If you need a clock, there’s the one
out in your Rabbit—look, it’s not about
the pocketbook; it’s the Pocket
Books and stuff. Come peer!
says your mirror, but not
now, it’s full of itself. So’s
your cupboard—food’s just what
you’re always out of.
Now, a nap? It can be
like love.



The Billions and Comforter first appeared in PageBoy (VIII).

Susan Parr grew up in several states, including West Virginia, Florida, and New Mexico. She earned her B.A. in Russian Studies from Barnard College and her M.F.A. in Poetry from the University of Washington, where she was a 2011 Strange Coupling Fellow and a recipient of the MacLeod-Grobe Prize. Her first book of poems, Pacific Shooter (2009), was awarded the Lena-Miles Wever Todd Prize and published by Pleiades Press. She’s also been a recent finalist for Burnside Review’s Press Prize and Poetic Justice Institute’s two POL awards. Her poems have appeared in journals and anthologies including Alaska Quarterly Review, Margie, Poetry, Diagram, and the Best American Poetry series. She currently lives in Seattle.