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Susan Terris

Susan Terris was born in St. Louis, Missouri. She has a B.A. in English Literature from Wellesley College and an M.A. from San Francisco State University. She is the author of several books of poetry, most recently Present Tense (Marsh Hawk Press, 2019). She is a freelance editor of book-length poetry manuscripts, and hosts a series of weekend workshops taught by David St. John. She lives in San Francisco, California. 

By This Poet


Dish of Mashed Peas

Some people are not destined for happiness,
            and I may be one of them.

You see, in certain parts of the world where
            I have been and now live,

at least in my dreams, happiness is only
               granted to a woman 

who leaves a dish of mashed peas out in
               the moonlight overnight.

But superstition does not name what moon
               phase or if one must

eat the peas. Instructions too vague.
               Peas uneaten. Moon dark.

No happiness yet. I’d ask my nana if she
               were still here,

but she was the one who gauged oven heat
               with a bent elbow

and said happiness was to bake a cake
               until done.