Susan Lewis / Some Assembly Required

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SUSAN LEWIS lives in New York City and edits Posit ( Her most recent books are This Visit (BlazeVOX [books], 2015), How to be Another (Červená Barva Press, 2014), and State of the Union (Spuyten Duyvil Press, 2014). Her work is forthcoming or has recently appeared in The Awl, Boston Review, The Brooklyn Rail, Connotation Press, EOAGH, Gargoyle, Luna Luna, Otoliths, Ping Pong, Propeller, Raritan, Seneca Review, Verse, Word For/Word, and Yew. More at



1. In which everyday pain nuzzles
your neck and various & sundry accessories. You may or may not know whereof I speak (to the swell of strings). Trekking like Ulysses to taste this shirking savor (acquired). Eyes closed, mind. Or ambiguate. A lively intercourse of sodden factors, amour propre and not-so-much, victimized by what we laughingly call success.

2. Not to ignore the comedy of horrors
by which anything mortal can be understood to swear. Which is not to say sacred or profane, beyond sampling the wares & preserving the buffet of options. Tasteless or spiked, extended or ranged from here to there like anybody’s flavored dream. Losing our windblown parts seriatum until.

3. In a contingency don’t forget to plan
& later map your lost rigidities. Real if not ideal, salivating or slavering for the taste of any kind of limit. Limned in profile or its loyal opposition. Vaunted as any victor, marching toward Bethlehem to be borne.

4. Not to put too fine a point on
the optimistic view to be personalized, with or without divine flourish. Plus a cherry on top, cheery & paternalistic, like any daughtered god. Lest you wonder how to tolerate or map this sojourn. A blink of the eye in animal years — a flash, a nod, a morsel, a smithereen. A vale of saline exudations. A gobbet, receptacled. Long on fear & suffering. Short on on. Ask anyone, ask everyone. There’s the glow of lights at evening, there is ecstasy in tasteless bursts, there’s the optional leave-taking with its impotent attention, contained horror, captive blossoms. After which you might expect to revisit & compound the error of your wayward wondering (to the taut & tragic swell of strings).