Chris Souza


Chris Souza lives and works in Massachusetts. Previous publications include: Gulf Coast, Bellingham Review, Connecticut Review, New Delta Review, West Branch, and Laurel Review, among many others. Her work has been featured on “Verse Daily” and is forthcoming in Natural Bridge and Cape Rock Review.

All Gratitude Being Mine

July will have us roasted by noon. I’ll work
the dewy light: water verbena, fill the baths

and offer seed, open-palmed, to chickadees
who sort for peanut hearts with abandon,

all gratitude being mine and misspent.
They weigh nothing with a firm grip and eye me

like round inscrutable mirrors or God at the Arnolfini
wedding, enough foreknowledge to choke anything.

I tell my students circles are signs of security,
the feminine, a general application of interpretation,

but don’t be surprised when the artist reverses
your expectations, when it’s what you trusted

that devoured you like a body gone rag with heat.
And the daughter you were has faded, and the daughter

you have acquires the usefulness of unlearning you,
and you still baffle over your mother,

who is your grandmother’s ghost here to remind
you, all palms end in supplication.

Many summers ago, I coaxed chickadees to eat from my palm. They became so familiar, they’d flutter about, seeking seed, whenever I went outside. I’ve never forgotten how they clamped onto my fingers, or how those little clocks eyed me, keen and incurious at the same time.