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Since 1996 Volume XXI

Susan Gubernat

Susan Gubernat’s poems have appeared most recently in Cimarron Review,
Crab Orchard Review, Gargoyle, Michigan Quarterly, The Pinch, Prairie
Schooner, among others. An opera librettist, she is a Professor in the
English Department at California State University, East Bay, where she
helped inaugurate and now advises the Arroyo Literary Review.
Written While Grading 
the Undergraduates’ Final Exams

Here are the lights going off in the booths at Araby

one by one, the carnival being packed up,

gray aluminum louvers shuttered like thunder

on the radiance of sparkling storefronts.

But what were they full of anyway? Merchandise,

they’d say. Geegaws—that fussy term

from yet another nineteenth century book

the students have only skimmed because it didn’t

shine for them the way their selfies can.

They are peddling empty résumés now

in the crowded streets; baristas, they’re pouring

hot foam into a metal beaker as steam rises.

But not like horse’s breath in a meadow. No.

It escapes from underground, from the iron navel

in a manhole cover. Or from the flimsy cups

customers hold to their lips like Styrofoam chalices.

They’ve stirred sweetener in so hastily they’ve left

spindrifts of sugar spilled on the floor.



© Copyright, Susan Gubernat.
All Rights Reserved.