For I Will Consider My Friend Susan

For she is the servant of the Living God,
and worships in her way. For this is done
by wiping her Countertops seven times over
with evident Quickness. For she worries
and plans, asks me to cut Onions for supper
in a Quarter-Inch Dice. For her concerns
are so evident on her face I am even willing
to cut Onions in a Quarter-Inch Dice. For this
she loves me, for she knows it is not of my Nature
to be precise, to bring precision to any first
draft, which is living, which is cutting up foods
to be consumed for suppertime. For she is a mixture
of gravity and Waggery, and even in her precision
finds a way to treasure me, though my sloppy little
spirit is such a Challenge to love: I forget my
toothbrush, forget my Pants, drink all the gin,
leave coffee rings, make more reasons to wipe
more Counters more times. For there is nothing
sweeter than her Peace when at rest, after two
gin and tonics on the green velvet sofa with a stringle,
pretzels, in front of a Vintage Antiques Road Show.

Click here to read Jill McDonough on the writing of this poem:

Jill McDonough:
“For I Will Consider My Friend Susan” is of course messing with both my friend Susan and Christopher Smart’s lovely poem about his cat Jeoffrey. I love a litany, love the form the repetition creates. And I love the way this affectionate portrait brings a long-dead cat back to life with its specificity, even as it slips us back into another Time with its Initial Caps. I wanted to bring its Waggery into my poem about a long friendship. Susan and I look alike, dress alike, are mistaken for sisters, both work as artists, and could not be more different in the ways we live our days. The tidy precision with which she conducts herself is exhausting for me to even think about. When I visit her, I do “forget my/toothbrush, forget my Pants, drink all the gin,” which must seem as nuts to her as breaking out a ruler for diced onion seems to me. We love each other.

Image “Your Best Digs”, licensed under CC BY 2.0

Jill McDonough
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