Susan Kay Anderson

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

                             another bomb

 damaged the church                           not our bomb
                                    that part

 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
     falling over.  
            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. 

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