3 Poems – Beth Suter

Mimi, 1929-

she still says:
if you ain’t sure it’s edible
feed it to the dog first

she pickles wild garlic and onion
foraged mustard seed

the chance abundance of ditches
gathered summers hoarded

she passes down old hungers
her dust bowl roots—
such relish


Cutting Tools

today the paring knife
cut me open
a slice of memory:

my father losing his grip
on a buck knife

making a pinhole for the light
in my skin

he once showed me
a catfish heart, still beating
long after gutting—

long after its flesh fed us—

he wanted me to know
the bloody wonder of it


How His Mother Taught Me to Survive

in her latest letter
she sent a photo—

the only shot she took that day—
deer in wild-rose-bramble
eating the rusty fruit

she wrote a confession
of hearing it pray
of laying her rifle down
of a hunger for something
besides venison—

she mailed the fixings
for her bitter cure-all tea

half-eaten rose hips
spilled from the envelope



Author Bio: Beth Suter studied Environmental Science at U.C. Davis and has worked as a naturalist and teacher. She is also a 2013 Pushcart Prize nominee with recent or forthcoming poems in Colorado Review, Natural Bridge, and CALYX, among others. She lives in Davis, California with her husband and son.

The author: Debra Marquart