Susan T. Moss
author photo by Howard Romero  
In these beautifully crafted and deeply felt poems of her second book, In from the Dark, Susan Moss tells of much that has been lost but also of all that remains a solace: the saving grace of memory, the world of nature, and the continuing presence of good friends, all that allows her to come in from the dark. About the book, Max Garland writes, “This is a book remembrance, of the ongoing presence of the past. It’s one of those fortunate, essential elements of poetry that the more personal the language and imagery, the more universal and shared the response. Here is a vivid narrative of a particular life, intensely seen and rendered. Reading this book from start to finish the word that comes to mind is gratitude, the gratitude of the poet for the fleeting moments, and gratitude in the reader for the poems themselves.” Robin Chapman adds, “ In these vivid poem portraits of family and neighborhood, Moss gives us stays against the darkness of mortality and loneliness that we all encounter: her father telling stories of Elizabeth Kacrunchkakite; her Grandma Gretel, ‘a bookie, yodeler and pianist;' herself wobbling in her mother’s brown alligator high heels; a moment when a deer ‘meets/ my stare at the juncture when/ the thread pulls taut between bone and dust.’ ” And this from Albert DeGenova: “Susan Moss’ new collection In From the Dark explores the humanity and arc of meaning in the word mortality: loss of parents, of youthful fantasy, of youth itself.
Cover photo
  Front cover photo: David Linsell
Yet In From the Dark is no journey of grief: Moss finds joy, humor and beauty in memory, as well as understanding and acceptance of our human condition. Poignant and accessible, these poems speak with a gentle and wise voice. Throughout this collection poems such as ‘Going Home’ with the lines ‘Little will change with politics./Early winter hunkers in wait,’ or ‘After The Closing’ with these words: “I carry three keys on a ring – one to start/the car, another to lock my apartment,/the third to unlock what I don’t want to forget”--offer the reader a perspective to fill the heart and deepen experience.”

Susan T. Moss is the author of Keep Moving ’til the Music Stops, a chapbook published by Lily Pool (Swamp Press, 2006). Her work has appeared in Vermont Literary Review, Caduceus, After Hours, Seeding the Snow, Out of Line, A Light Breakfast, Du Page Valley Review, East on Central, and Your Daily Poem, among other publications, and also on Wordslingers (WLUW-FM). Susan has served two terms as president of the Illinois State Poetry Society and is a member of Poets Club of Chicago and Poets and Patrons. She has been awarded a writing residency at the Vermont Studio Center and holds a Master of Arts degree from Middlebury College, The Bread Loaf School of English.

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ISBN 978-1-936482-73-3

Copyright © 2014 by Susan T. Moss

6" x 9" paperback, 40 pages


copyright © 2014 by Susan T. Moss


Grandma Gretel

was a bookie, yodeler
and pianist who spoke
four languages, married twice
seeking true love,
and motorcycled the Swiss Alps
with her little girl riding pillion.

Years later Grandma
gave me a quarter,
sent me down
the back stairs
of our city apartment
to buy a Hershey bar
and bring back the change.

I was three.
I got the candy,
brought back the change.

My mother didn’t remember
this story.
The rest she couldn’t forget.


Seven Points for LOVE

We begin by taking a tile
to determine who’ll start
our weekly games of SCRABBLE.

I keep score and play as if my life
depends on it while my mother
plops down a quick word just above

a high value square. We discuss the
risk and possible moves yet she claims
it’s all about getting rid of letters

whose placement usually provides
the next forty points I can add
to my growing total.

The scene is always the same: I hint
at a sneaky strategy for her
before she slips across to the other side

of the board, avoiding a double
word space difficult to ignore.
I also try to arrange the letters

so she can win but the bait sits
there in want of a taker and hard
to pass up for my next turn.

When Mom does win without any
help, she claims it must have been
a fluke. Celebration lasts a moment.

Someday what will count most in my final tally
will be our time together, not who landed
on a triple pointer with the letter Z.

We’ve Got Mail

My parents moved in with me.
They arrived soon after the memorial
service and the family house sold.

Forwarded magazines, store flyers
and catalogs permanently acquired
my address with their names.

This daily dross pursues those
who have transcended worldly things –
hearing aids and playing golf with the

spry well-coifed in an opulent retirement
paradise and otherworldly – a tasteful
tri-fold promoting cremains buried at sea

or a stylish mausoleum rising above
rolling lawns under a perpetual sun
shining over my loved ones and me.

I’ve gotten used to the three of us here
in my small apartment. I added another
can for wastepaper and allow extra time

to read or rip what isn’t mine. It’s comforting
when I’m reminded that Mom and Dad,
only a stamp away, haven’t really left.

They show up most days about two-o’clock
when I decide what’s worth keeping
and what’s junk.

The Encounter

Sometimes, when the day’s frenzy
erects false shrines to necessity,
an inner scream crescendos
and all sensibility vanishes

taking with it what’s left
of the meditation classes,
time management guides
and lavender lotion.

It happens, this misalignment,
this conformity to chaos,
and like a bullet to the nerves
splinters me.

I take a walk along a road
grizzled with dry stalks
and ripe apples beginning
to drop from untended trees.

Near meadow’s edge a deer grazes
on fruit, stops and meets
my stare at that juncture when
the thread pulls taut between bone and dust.

At Katie’s Party

Such wild audacity
of a raccoon to wash
meticulous paws
in the cat’s water bowl
and eat feline savories

garnered by ingenuity,
hunger and scarcity
of contrition
on his nocturnal quest
through the open kitchen door

on the same path we recognize –
the one paved with desire
to live, eat, bathe
in the luxury of home,

a sanctuary lit by candlelight
on a rainy night
when some of us slip
off our masks
one sip of wine at a time

and immerse ourselves in talk
of music, travel, politics –
tidbits we offer and cling to
in this chance
to come in from the dark.

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