Issue 29 poetry

Another PTSD Poem

by Beth Suter

A black square with a white silhouette of an abstract shape protruding from the left corner.
Crosscurrent by John Chang

Night-blooming jasmine
suffuses the sleepless dark—
           scent of the unseen, a shiver


in the belly, my forever-fish
swimming a shoreless womb.
           Though my son surfaced,


a tremor remains, his arrival
opened a door I can’t close—
            the door of my leaving—


I hear singing on the other side
like the mockingbird’s
            midnight staccato—


featherless chicks in the nest
and the bird can’t sleep either
             in this world of hungry gravity.


It sings without mercy
under my open window
             one stolen note after another.

Beth Suter studied environmental science at UC Davis and has worked as a naturalist and teacher. A Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee, her poems have appeared in Colorado Review, Barrow Street, DMQ Review, Poet Lore, and Birmingham Poetry Review, among others. She lives in California with her husband and son.

John Chen’s works have been exhibited at Alexander Brest Museum, 621 gallery, Fresh Paint Art Gallery, Palm Springs Art Museum, Massillon Museum, Ormond Art Museum, and COOS ART MUSEUM. Chang’s work has been featured in diverse publications such as Pasadena Star News, KTLA, and Art in America, Art Ltd.