Issue 16 · 2012




from After the Fox


by Travis Cebula and Sarah Suzor





Two:  After the Fox



How simple would it be to replace light with the memory of light?


How simple would it be to replace you with the memory of you.

You, with the memory of night.


To find a tight spot between buildings so narrow.


How simple would it be to forget?


So high they’d hobble a day down to half

 of a few minutes.


Now, three sighs and a song.


Plate glass to plate glass.


A sign.


Three sighs with not-quite-open eyes.

To make a pass, a hooded stare just hard enough

to abandon the sun for good.


A direction.


To look only at one red spot all night.


Crossed-eyes. Oh, surely there’s space,

some tired place with an old wooden door and candlelight.


Sever it from the long hot fade to blue.


No doubt, it will burn.


How simple would it be for me to burn you

into a memory of you?


No doubt, it will be the easiest thing the world.


How lovely. If ever or if every night.

A memory of you could almost be a replacement.


but perhaps there is no other fate worth facing.


 There’s no question of goodbye

any more than there’s a question of the sun.


No figure better to replace than silhouettes.


Even when I’m blind drunk I’m still breathing,

even with my eyes closed.


Or shadows. Or any thing that only exists because of a flame.


And I see forty stars and more

expressions on your face than I can count.

And those will never go away.


You are as blind as you are lost.

And you are as lost as I am.


I cannot say the candle will gutter to smoke.


Saying goodbye is actually easy.


But perhaps that will be our fate.


Two syllables and a knotted throat.


And perhaps is the easiest way

to end a long night.

But the million minutes of without?


Sitting together

 in a joint that doesn’t allow dancing.


You count, I’ll make a joke.

How serious would it be to replace you

with the conclusion of you.


Drop it now and save something for later.


You can run, right?


Save yourself a swing, and I’ll thank you

with a trapeze. Gracious or graceful


Am I?


when you wear yourself out on the town,


Am I right where I said I’d stay?


 when you heel-toe on the high-wire you shine.


If yes, how quickly could you come.


You meet midnight like satin on fire. you’re right.


If no,


You’re right where I left you.


then know, too many minutes are two too many.


Whereas something topples from your open hand,

whereas summer stops—


I have two hopes and three-thousand questions.


fire only moves one direction.


How serious is fire when the lights goes out.


It keeps going up.


How necessary.


And light seeps out from the middle of snowstorms.


How strange.


 It keeps flowing.


The sound of heat.


 It keeps us warm.


The sound of feet


 So raise normal to no and a glass to yes.


clawing a tight rope.

No, I don’t want to remember you this way.


I hope.


And, yes, there’s always a chance to climb down.


 Right before darkness I can trust me.


Hand under hand.


 Right before too late I'll realize


There’s always ground.


 a dark window is a mirror. I’ll realize my own

face, and I won't blink.


Whereas the summer breeds simplicity,


I can’t.


it’s never the other way around. I hope you’re right.


I think I won’t miss the underside

of this table for anything.


I hope, right before you’re right, it turns into winter.


 Its dark belly.


Into weather enough we have to run from door to door.


I won’t miss my odd fall, or the right

ride despite my melt slipping down.

I’ll even catch your glass, if I’m able.


I hope people think we’re confused, crazy, lost.


I’ll ease its landing with my teeth.


Displaced, not replaced.


Maybe bequeath you a drop.


No, it’d be too serious


The second one.


to come to any other end.


From under the table I'll be brave.


Too much of not enough.


Tell you to draw your own mask.


Not ever enough.


 In other words,


Not enough of something drastic,


your own conclusions.


something worth chasing. I said: You can run, right? Am I?










Travis Cebula lives and creates in Maryland, where he teaches creative writing and publishes chapbooks under the imprint, Shadow Mountain Press.  His poems, essays, stories, and photographs have appeared internationally in various print and on-line journals.  He is the author of five chapbooks and two full-length collections of poetry, Under the Sky They Lit Cities and Ithaca, which will be available this Fall from BlazeVOX Books.  In 2011 he was gratefully awarded the Pavel Srut Fellowship for poetry by Western Michigan University. 


Sarah Suzor is the author of It was the season, then. (EtherDome Chapbooks), Isle of Dogs (Toadlily Press), and The Principle Agent (Black Lawrence Press).  Her interviews and reviews have appeared in various online and print journals including Rain Taxi and Tarpaulin Sky.  Her poetry has been published widely, as well as anthologized, translated and nominated for the Pushcart Prize.  She lives in Venice, California, where she is the founding editor for Highway 101 Press, and a guest lecturer for the Left Bank Writers Retreat in Paris.