Suzanne Lapstun

Learning to Float, Witness: Suzanne Lapstun

learning to float

I have moved the furniture
a ray of dust is pitching in the sunlight
there are angels in the blind spots

today the beast slumbers behind the curtain
a storm of dreams of flowing water
raining below the zinc roof
orange in winter, drowning in childhood
splinters of mica, a world falling from between our hands

I have lost a language, a lamp, a timepiece
the cool tongue that filled bubbles with meaning
the goldfish from the sleeping place

today the day rose early
blurring the night visions
I slip on my second-hand boots
don my irreversible coat
today the river is high
they told me on the radio

it is time to disengage from mourning
soul light in a body of lead
time to dive in

I step forth through the makeshift opening
onto the crosswalk
up a side alley
leave my child at the end of the street of the moon

her solitude sings me the milky way
a handful of notes like a flight of paper planes

there are at least ten beliefs among the casualties
there are at least ten bars to beat before we reach safety


voices rise
like the hackles of angry dogs
and then
as he slides over the balcony railing
that is the sound of impact a second later
there is no other sound
no scream
no grunt
no audible exhalation of last breath
no exclamation of horror from onlookers
he slid off like a rolled up carpet
or an awkwardly shaped home-wrapped parcel
or a bag of cement
someone owns this event
not me
but this event owns me



Suzanne Lapstun is a multilingual poet and writer, currently based in Italy. In 2022 she published Letters from the Arctic (Eyewear/Black Spring Press), an epistolary novel that explores questions of self and social responsibility in a part of the world that is disproportionately affected by the climate crisis.