» Poetry

Wedding Season

Free again, my panther

life takes off fast—palmettos

and snakes in the path.

The beautiful sea grape

is aging like it’s winter;

leaves of talkative platters,

some big as my hand, still

grow heart-red veins


but have gone soft

and pale at the edges.

My very last husband

sheds his brave persona

and slithers into the bamboo

for good. Leaving


him there, I remember

that on nights like this,

thousands of baby

sea turtles hatch

and make their determined

way to the water. Life

goes on, the planet sings,

unaware of all our betrayals.

The waves swell

and collapse. I hear


the corks and lantern-lit

shouts of new wedding

feasts all over this ringing

world. If champagne comes

in midnight blue, I’ll toast

their tight bouquets of joy

as clouds bubble

against the sky in

their incessant kissing

with the moon.

Glowing sand pushes

up from every step

like sifted white

hills of cake flour,

the only light for miles.



Please also see Russ Kesler’s review of Susan Lilley’s book Venus in Retrograde, in which this poem later appeared.


Susan Lilley

Susan Lilley is a Florida native and is currently serving as Orlando’s inaugural Poet Laureate. Her poetry and nonfiction have appeared in American Poetry Review, Gulf Coast, Poet Lore, The Southern Review, Drunken Boat, Saw Palm, The Florida Review, Sweet, and other journals. Her two chapbooks are Night Windows and Satellite Beach. She is a past winner of the Rita Dove Poetry Award and has held a State of Florida Individual Arts Fellowship. Her new full collection, Venus in Retrograde, will be published in spring of 2019 by Burrow Press.