Two Poems


Susana H. Case





Ode to Those Not Yet Done



Bones of subversion,

bracelet tattoo,

tight, black-lace dress,


face like an overworked field

in filtered light,

heels so high, they’re a party


to felony.

To the matinee girls,

who get the desperation,


but don’t get the lover.

The lover who drives back

in his fully-equipped luxury


car to his real life,

his nighttime life.

His wife.


Rum-drunk women,

who decide phoning

the elusive ones


to scream is a good idea.

The ones who can’t grow

flowers in their gardens,


and, when the largest rat ever

builds a nest there,

still burst into song.





The Hungarian Immigrant Escapes Poverty



Harry Houdini is tired of trained monkeys

and fat ladies,

but he loves


his shackles and chains.

When he’s trussed, his eyes light up.

He escapes the ghetto, in Budapest,


in America, can get out

of anything,

has half a million dollars in the 1920s.


Harry is handsome naked in handcuffs,

little like a doll, but fit.

He is the thorn in the foot of authoritarians,


mocks the police, moves prisoners

from one locked cell to another.

He is the thorn in the foot of death.


No trunk nor milk container,

tall as a man’s hips, can hold him.

No woman but his mother


can possess him. Harry is silky-slippery,

as he hangs upside down in a straitjacket

above Times Square,


his ten-minute escape

watched by a crowd of thousands.

He breaks free, forces us to think


of the cruelties of his century—

slavery, torture

—spreads his arms out like Jesus.









Susana H. Case is the author of seven books of poetry, most recently Dead Shark on the N Train, from Broadstone Books, 2020, which won a Pinnacle Book Award for Best Poetry Book and a NYC Big Book Award Distinguished Favorite.  She is also the author of five chapbooks.  Her first collection, The Scottish Café, from Slapering Hol Press, was re-released in a dual-language English-Polish version, Kawiarnia Szkocka, by Opole University Press and she has also been translated into Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese.  Case is a Professor and Program Coordinator at the New York Institute of Technology in New York City and can be reached online at



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