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  • suzannahwatchorn

New poem, "Aching" & a prompt

Vibe: sentimental, painful, thoughtful

Rejections: 2

My relief was
so great I anticipated the appointment
like a birthday, and I vowed

I’d be the happiest woman in the
dental office. But first I flew across the Atlantic
to my hometown. It was on the news

every day:

Last time I was at the dental office (very recently!), I was reading Kathryn Schulz's Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error. Probably not the best choice to be contemplating human mistakes as I wait for someone to get up close and personal with my mouth, but that aside, it's an incredible book. I've learned a lot of new information about how and why we make errors, from the terrifying to the hilarious.

Fun fact about this poem: it almost had a different final sentence. Originally, I had written a simile ("like an exposed nerve"), then my friend Lauren, who is quite often my first reader, came along and crossed out the like, making it a metaphor. I LOVE when changing one word or punctuation mark amps up the whole poem.

I've been eager to read Issue #78 of Neologism; it's always exciting to see who your page-mates will be! Reading this set of poems, I was not only admiring of all the attention to language, form and narrative, but also deeply flattered to see my own work among this group. So much gratitude to Neologism's editor, Christopher Fields.

In honour of this issue's release + my note about last lines, I decided to create a collage poem of all this issue's endings (with some minor adjustments to line breaks and tense). Enjoy my experiment!

Truth & Duty

A dream slips death back

like a mad palindromist

and makes this hymn

that we might hear it:

as seed, as bone

as powerline, as hatchet

he waits for a butterfly

to pass him like a shadow.

Around me, without my asking

promise of dawn beyond the awning

has loosed the future to begin.

We can but sing to starless sky

for here such sad damp squibs

we lie, love-light snuffed out

with a licked-finger pinch

an exposed nerve

deep in the gum.

The boy is just a boy.

G°d looked you straight

in the eye and told you so.


Make a list of the different types of relationships in your life (e.g., familial, romantic, professional, medical). What language do you associate with each? What happens when you combine them? OR Compose a collage poem of last lines.


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