Selected Poems

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Back to where we belong

We’ve lived a week of wisdom teeth
My lovely 20-year-old in her little girl white bed
A child for one short week
sleeps badly, faints from too many painkillers

We savour rich chocolate ice cream, very strawberry gelato
make chicken soup from scratch
mash potatoes ’till they squish

Pale-faced, cheeks puffed out to shame a chipmunk
she loves the comfort
Silly movies absorb long afternoons
Small, slow smiles sneak into her repetoire

Then, as the worst winter storm ices barren branches
she packs frozen mini meals, antibiotics just-in-case
I wave her out the door, into a car that whisks her from me

After she’s sheltered in the crook of my arm
I should be thrilled she’s okay
Instead I turn from the window

Hold my own hand

JC Sulzenko

A Poet @ the Festival

for John Newlove

The first time I saw you, heard you read
I found you old beyond your years
to my surprise

You wore your frailty poorly –
the timbre of your voice, your hands
trembling as leaves must before they fall

I wished youd let me stand behind you
place my arms under your arms
my hands under your hands

We would be strong together
and it would look as though your hands
turned the pages with ease as you read

But I would not speak for you

No, your words are…well…
yours to say as long as you can
and then for us to read to ourselves


JC Sulzenko

Urban Triptych


A yellow canoe
against the red brick wall
early morning
upon a quiet lake


By the side of the highway
where kids with knapsacks thumb rides to God-knows-where,
only bottled water(unopened), a ripe banana(intact),
and a container with green grapes(washed)


The heady scent of sweet lilacs
cannot dispel the image, mask the sound
of a crows harsh beak devouring
a black fledgling
and its cries

JC Sulzenko