Susan Carol Hauser

Parsing the City: Saint Paul, Minnesota

In Uncategorized on March 22, 2015 at 3:17 pm

March 22, 2015
Saint Paul, Minnesota

People say to me, you must miss the woods, but we have a lot of nature here in Saint Paul. They are right, I do miss the woods, and there is nature here in Saint Paul, but I want to say to them, not really–there is no relationship here to the woods. At night in Puposky I slept with the window cracked all year long and around two o’clock in the morning I often heard coyotes howl, and sometimes a wolf, and now and then the maniacal midnight chatter of foxes. In the spring, bobcats broke the night with their lightning wails, male and female mating under the stars, the hackles on my neck rising exactly commensurate with a blaze of adrenalin that sparked from my head to my heart.

My apartment building is smack downtown, Sixth and Sibley, across the street from a one-block square park. In summer, water flows through a constructed creek that crosses one side of the park. This morning I watched sparrows standing on a little bridge looking down as though waiting for the water to appear. It is only March, too early to turn on the spigot. I was walking my dogs, as were many others. The dogs have become friends and delight in seeing each other, sniffing away at both ends, back and forth, good morning my dear friend, they say and prance a little from the pleasure of it as we move along in our routine way. It is not a lot of nature, I think to myself, but it is some.

Yesterday I heard a robin singing, recognized its song, and this morning on our walk I spotted something green at the base of a birch tree next to the path: the first growth of this new year pushing through the leaf rubble. The leaves were startling, bright-bright green, as though electric, and to my dismay, I could not name them. If I were up north, they would be hepatica, the first spring flower to break out of the ground. Here, in a square of earth surrounded by sidewalks and buildings and near a fragment of a dormant stream, they are simply, merely, alarmingly wild.

Mears Park, Saint Paul, Minnesota

Mears Park, Saint Paul, Minnesota

Peeping the Land, Redux

In Peeping the Land on March 7, 2015 at 10:04 pm

The Last Bay Poem
December 22, 2014

I wish it were twenty-five below this morning,
the air on fire with the cold. On a day like that
when I was younger, I would put on my skis,
glide away from the house, follow the squared
sides of the field, south, west, north, east to home.
My breath condensed and froze on my eyebrows,
my cheeks crackled as though electric. Less than
halfway out I would have loosened the scarf
around my neck, the work of my heart warming
even my toes, sweat freezing on my brow.

Outside this morning it is warm for December,
high twenties. A pileated woodpecker works
at the suet, and chickadees scavenge the hulls
of sunflower seeds on the platform feeder, looking
for one more kernel of fuel. They do not heed
the frozen bay beyond, a white disc, a wafer of ice
and snow, nor do they apprehend in any way
the packed boxes behind me, thirty-five years of life
on this land divided into cartons, sealed with tape:
the past containered, the present unfolding,
the future gliding away even as I approach.

Parsing the City: Saint Paul, Minnesota

In Parsing the City on January 24, 2015 at 1:48 am

Saint Paul, Minnesota, January 23, 2015

I saw Orion tonight, hanging halfway to apex in the southeastern sky, skiffs of clouds cutting across his torso, the gleaming light of a jet plane climbing his scabbard. The moon was out, too, waxing quarter crescent, in the southwest sky. Me, I was standing on the dark, wet street, standing in a thin rivulet of melted snow. I was getting out of my car and had glanced into the sky for no reason, and there was Orion, and I stopped, not thinking this would happen in the glow of city lights. I looked up and around to see if there was more, and that’s when I saw the moon. Two-hundred and fifty miles north of here, I used to watch it lay its light upon the snowfield of Lake Puposky, undimmed by the few tepid house lights that flickered like candles along the shore, there as here Orion hard on its heels.

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