Beautiful Creatures, Poem, Poetry

Susan Waters

When Suburbia Moved In Next Door

It was the same year
the peacocks died. We burned the shed
burned their bodies, stiff as March wind,
dense as newly cut wood.

When we looked up
from the tongues of flame,
we saw two women staring
at us from their bright new homes.
They passed back and forth a disgusted look.

They didn’t know we torched
the plot so the other animals,
pawing, as they would through rot,
wouldn’t get what took
the swagger from the peacocks
without a track of blood.

They didn’t know we kept the birds
for their color and their noise.
They were like decorations
from a party.

The women shook their heads
and before our eyes an opal tip of feather
floated upward, like an eye,
on the heat’s current.

Susan Waters started out as a journalist covering hard news in upstate New York and for 13 years was a magazine editor and writer at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, College of William and Mary.  Her publishing credits are extensive. She has won 10 prizes in poetry and have been nominated twice for the Push Cart Prize in Poetry. Her chapbook Heat Lightning was published in 2017 by Orchard Street Press. Currently, she is Professor Emeritus at New Mexico Junior College.