Slate Roof Press

The Wild Language of Deer

by Susan Glass

Writing from the Broken Places: Northern Hope Poetry 3

PRE-ORDER Price: $17.00
Letterpress cover
Original woodcuts by Hyde Meissner
Hand-sewn with special die-cut binding

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June Bedtime Story

In the wild light before cataracts, God
was marigold seed sprouting
from between Mother’s fingers.
My first nursery
to water and smell.
Together we tamped the earth,
our forearms and knees touching.
She stood, and I—child god
at ear level with patchwork knees—
listened to a wheelbarrow on stone,
pulled by Mother hands, earth-gloved and honest,
the flapping burlap apron of Mother lap,
the snips, the trowel.
God became dwarf plants,
and plastic six-packs,
and spider-web roots clinging.
And the seedlings begat evening, smelling of onions.
I crouched in the basin our knees had made,
unsure how seed graves could spawn life,
afraid of leaving them to their dark work, afraid
of running away.

The poems in The Wild Language of Deer, by Susan Glass, wake up all of the senses with a feast of intriguing textures, scents, flavors, sounds, and visual images: “a curry comb’s / rough tongue,” matted roots that “smell like sea urchin shells,” “cumin and cinnamon,” “mint and lemon balm,” “the cactus wren stuttering / his broken / motor song,” the tail of a Bewick’s wren “conducting, / a black-barred, white-tipped baton / curved over his back and flicking side to side.” Filled with compassion, humor, and attentiveness to nature, these poems are a delight to read.

— Lucille Lang Day, author of Birds of San Pancho and Other Poems of Place, coeditor of Fire and Rain: Ecopoetry of California


Susan Glass' poetry has appeared in Snowy Egret, The Broad River Review, Birdland Journal, Fire and Rain: Ecopoetry of California, Honoring Nature: An Anthology of Authors and Artists Festival Writers, and elsewhere. A California resident with ties to western Massachusetts, she held a residency at the Cummington Community of the Arts in Massachusetts and received her MFA from the University of Massachusetts/Amherst. After teaching for many years at San Jose State University and West Valley Community College, she now edits the news magazine for the California Council of the Blind, Blind Californian, along with The Blind Teacher for the American Association of Blind Teachers. She has work in Our Last Walk: Using Poetry for Grieving and Remembering Our Pets. She and her husband John share their home with her guide dog Omni, whose combined work ethic and silliness insure that all three remain irreverent, active, and loved.