Susan Kay Anderson
Anti-Heroin Chic, Sleet Magazine, Loud Coffee Press, and The World Silent in Her Vase recently featured Anderson’s work. Her memoir project about Virginia Brautigan Aste is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press. She lives in Oregon’s Umpqua River Basin; a system of watersheds, creeks, swales, and their valleys.
Their Unofficial Bomb Shelter
I just remember it was homemade
so we didn’t have to go over to the church—
my dad thought we would drown over there
(because of the water pipes he was right in a way
where the paters lived
it did flood
damaged the church not our bomb
it goes all the way down to the cellar).
That was the official bomb shelter you can’t explain
helter-skelter you would be trapped rubble dirt cement
So nobody went over there.
They died inside their own
shelter. I remember when my dad (and Polish prisoners) went and took
a wardrobe, a Kleidershrank into our bomb shelter the nice clothes
of everybody it was supposed to protect you my
beautiful red dress was in shreds after I was really sad about it.
I really have the dark hair my cousin had dark hair also and her
sister hated her didn’t speak to her and her son and my dad
was the blond one there was so much seething hatred
even royals got bombed had to fight all warriors to the end.
Clouds sit on the ground.
False eagles find food. Angels
whipping up the air
attempting the same flight.
What we said was true.
The white cat creeping
along the fence line.
Death is two syllables
only one symbol.
Embroidery Pattern #1972
Mom began telling us about the bomb
that killed half her family (parents, sisters, brothers)
when we lived in Nome.
The TV channel showed footage from Vietnam.
While Dad was gone on trips to frozen villages
on small islands. Shishmaref. Little Diomede. Gambell.
got instructions whispered by Albert
only she could hear. Hoist the sails! Only use pink
aqua, and brown! Our design is the caribou! The musk. The ox.
pointing to objects in the air only she could see dropping.
Then falling down in the snow fort built of blocky chunks
right by the shipping container I made into a play house
tried my hand at sleeping there at forty below
giving up and going in only at pitch dark. Our neighbors
were into Elvis and Evel Knievel. We let them play.