All in by Susanna Lang

by Susanna Lang

Once it’s been broken, the body
holds the memory of falling
as you would hold a fragile goblet
that belonged to your great grandmother,
whose name you also carry.

The body holds with two hands
the memory of falling, as you
would hold an entire tray of goblets.
That delay before you reach the ground,
the sound of something shattering

that blanks all other sounds—birds
silenced, no broom to sweep up
the shards, no arm to sweep with.

Cobbled together, the body walks
with eyes fixed on where the next
step falls and the step after that, sings
a few words over and over, once again
upright and moving across the earth.

Always the body holds its memory,
water brimming a goblet etched in gold.


Susanna Lang’s third collection of poems, Travel Notes from the River Styx, was released in 2017 from Terrapin Books. Her last collection was Tracing the Lines (Brick Road Poetry Press, 2013). A two-time Hambidge fellow, her poems have appeared in such publications as Prairie Schooner, december, American Life in Poetry, and Verse Daily. Her translations of poetry by Yves Bonnefoy include Words in Stone and The Origin of Language. She lives and teaches in Chicago.