Susie Sweetland Garay – Four poems


profileSusie Sweetland Garay was born and raised in Portland Oregon US. She received a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Brigham Young University, spent some years in the Ohio Appalachians and currently lives in the Willamette Valley where she works in the Vineyard industry. She spends her free time, writing, growing plants and making art. She has had poetry and photography published in a variety of journals, on line and in print, and is a founding editor of The Blue Hour Literary Magazine and Press. More of her work can be found at


One night, we drove
through the dark,
headlights off,
over familiar gravel roads
generally traveled over
in the light of day.

We unpacked our sheers
and buckets and began
wandering the rows,
backs bent and headlamps
pointed down, choosing
our clusters carefully.

We took our time
and would savor
those fruits for years.


A New Name

When I wake
I am in an unfamiliar place.

I say a small prayer
and remember that
at least when I fall down
I get to feel the earth under me.

August is a month to try again.

Later I feel a very clear
calming, the franticness
oozes out of me in waves

and I shiver in pleasure
as I feel it go.

Though I know it will be back
for now its leaving comforts.

I only ever wanted to fight
with wooden swords
I reassure myself.

I am harmless.
But then I think back
on all the harm I’ve caused
and I am less sure.

I take a moment to think about the questions
before I ask them. I sit with them a while
wondering if I really want the answers.

Occasionally we all need a new name.



I spend the day
walking city street
I have not seen in ages
and I realize that I
cannot blame this place
for what happened here.

I could see so clearly
before the clouds came
sending rain washing over
brick and cement and
decaying things.

Before the edges
got blurry.

He tells me that I won’t
be happy in another place.
That the defect is
contained in me,
in my odd
ways of
and seeing.

And I listen
thinking over
what he tells me.

But when I don’t
agree he is unhappy
and I hate to make
anyone unhappy,
so I pretend
to be unsure.

What you do not understand
must wait to be told and
anyway why should we talk
when you’ve already
made up your mind.

What an odd sensation
to be at the beginning again.


Pieces of nothing

Though I tried,
I could not write
much of a letter.

My hands write stories
but I cannot always know
where they will take me.

It has been a long,
hard winter

so I go to work
building a poem
the way I would
if it were made
of metal.

Piece by piece
layer by layer
with mess
and flame
and fire scale.

Then at the end
sanding off the blackness
to get to the shine

I put my pen to paper and write
let’s make something beautiful
out of pieces of nothing.

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