Weekly Feature: Poetry at The Arts Fuse

Welcome to “Poetry at The Arts Fuse.” A new poem every Thursday.



Coming back to the old neighborhood—like a t.v. set
of childhood, this place I fled, wide-eyed to its subtle
underside, not wanting to be a girl in its wilderness
of wants and jealousies, its contests of id and image,
its theater of perfection with no safe haven
for its kid conscripts, walk-ons, cast of underpaid
extras. On the corner, the forsythia still blooms
like an alarm clock or the hair of Jesse Linehan,
the third grade’s crush, though he chewed his tie
and never tied his shoes. And the brown-shingled
house where Ruanne and her mother lived after
the pyrotechnic divorce—the philanderer locked
out, left howling on the porch until the cops
arrived and convinced him to give it up.

The first rule here is do not disturb the peace
or permit parking, the right to quiet enjoyment
of sprinklers and playsets, gas grills and badminton,
swinger clubs and pervy sex. The Guileforts, caught
running a gambling ring, disappeared into Texas
while the Metcalfs moved to another town where
they still might cut the lawn gingerly, with hand
mower and shears, all but wincing for the grass,
pacifist vegans suspicious of this motley paradise,
this zip code worn like a badge of Calvinist election
where surfaces enforce a silence as lethal as measles
—one that leaves no disfiguring mark or pox
but gums up the jaws, and kept me from caring
too much or saying exactly what I saw.


Heather Treseler is the author of the forthcoming Auguries & Divinations, which received the May Sarton Prize, and Parturition, which received the international chapbook award from the Munster Literature Centre in Cork, Ireland, and the Jean Pedrick Chapbook Prize from the New England Poetry Club. Her poems appear in Kenyon ReviewHarvard ReviewThe American Scholar, The Iowa ReviewCincinnati ReviewPN Review, and The Irish Times, and have won the W. . Yeats Prize and The Missouri Review’s Editors’ Prize. Her criticism appears in LARB, Boston Review, and in eight books about contemporary and modernist poetry. She is professor of English at Worcester State University and her work has been supported by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the Brandeis Women’s Studies Research Center, and the Boston Athenaeum.


Note: Hey poets! We seek submissions of excellent poetry from across the length and breadth of contemporary poetics. See submission guidelines here. The arbiter of the feature is the magazine’s poetry editor, John Mulrooney.

Arts Fuse editor Bill Marx

1 Comment

  1. ruth lepson on October 21, 2023 at 10:24 pm

    thank you

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