SUZANNE ONDRUS

Suzanne’s poems have appeared in Slab, Long River Review, Frigg, Colere, JENDA, the LaLorna Anthology and the Romanian journal Nazar Look. She has published reviews of poetry books in Pleiades, Gently Read Literature and Review Revue.  She has an M.F.A. from Bowling Green State University, an M.A. from Binghamton University and is writing her dissertation on African women epistolary techniques from The University of Connecticut while teaching in Ohio where many Slovenian Americans reside.  These poems here are inspired by the Slovenian Domobranci (Homeguard) soldiers who were slaughtered by the Slovenian Partisan soldiers in 1945.  John Corsellis and Marcus Ferrar's book Slovenia 1945 was inspirational for them.

I Met My Husband In The Camp

He was teaching advanced math.
I remember how he’d wipe away the board
with his hands, not with a rag. 

I just wanted to scrub those hands!
I thought his fine brain needed
white hands, not farmer’s hands.

Stealthily in medical paper,
he’s wrap me bread, potatoes or turnips
that he’d snuck out from his lunch,
and in summer he’d place a wild daisy
on top.

I wasn’t won with poetry
but with sacrifice.

I thought if he gives when he’s hungry,
I’ll never go hungry,
and here I am sixty years later
figuring out how to go thin.

The falling, suspended, saved my life.

I looked up from the mass bodies
to the beech tree bent over us,
arching forward in a silent cry
for the bodies piled below.
I saw the roots gnarled around
a rock, threw my fist out and pulled
myself forward over the dead.
The heat rose from the bodies,
as mist under the moonlight,
my heaving breath pushing me
forward, the moans below be-
seeching me to carry the story
out of the grave.

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