by Susana H. Case

On vacation in Niagara Falls,
he rips feathers from pillows
in the middle of the night, rains
white birds all over the bed.
This is not the first time

he’s tried to stop drinking.
A jug of Chianti sets him off,
the kind wrapped in straw.
Fiasco, the bottle is called.
I’m wrapped in straw, a fiasco.

Once I couldn’t keep myself
from being wrapped in his arms.
His kisses no longer register—
my 29 distinct muscles for lips
and tongue, flaccid.

I take our car to the river where
it’s so hot the Canada Geese
are upside down, a gaggle of feet.
I toggle the likelihood of survival,
as if I were in one of those barrels

and going over the Falls.
Annie Edson Taylor was the first.
On her 63rd birthday, she high fived,
clutched her lucky heart-shaped
pillow, had the lid screwed down,

was set adrift. Would I dare
the sudden drop, the river
opening up like the road?
Twenty minutes of rushing water
is what it would feel like to leave.


Susana H. Case is the author of seven books of poetry, most recently Dead Shark on the N Train in 2020 from Broadstone Books. Drugstore Blue (Five Oaks Press) won an IPPY Award in 2019. She is also the author of five chapbooks, two of which won poetry prizes.

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