Susan Michele Coronel

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We Both Have a Persistent Ache Toward Gladness   

I’m done with online dating, sick to tears 
of preening and half-hearted game-playing,

and I don’t expect to find a mate in 
the foreseeable future. But I can’t stop thinking 

about the Danish movie Another Round 
and my obsession with Mads Mikkelson’s blunt-cut 

sandy mane, the way it scallops over the left side 
of his tanned forehead like the fabric of a wave, 

breaking again and again over my lap 
as he plunges his head into the trapezoid 

under my jeans, his blonde-gray stubble 
scraping my wrists as they graze his cheeks.

How I want to dive into the air around his collarbones 
and pull him underwater in a nearby lake or stream, 

bathing in the shimmer of wet miracles 
as my pelvis tilts towards sunburnt sky. 

I never want to stop gazing at his cheekbones
and Baryshnikov body, lithe and strong 

despite the advances of middle age—
in fact, even sexier because he’s middle aged.  

My cellulite jiggles when I walk, breasts 
more pendulous than firm, but Mads awakens

the drive inside that still sings of carnal magic.
Even his beautiful body must decay, 

but I persist in my ruminations. I don’t know 
how many more years my body will captivate 

the male gaze, but I am transfixed by the last scene, 
when my main squeeze carousels by the harbor

as students and colleagues celebrate, egging him on. 
It’s worth watching the scene over and over, 

just to see him leap over a bench like he’s in West Side Story
contorting his torso, elevating elbows and knees 

to the endless sun, at last gulping down 
a bottle of champagne before he plunges into the water. 

In my version of the scene, I am his eternal student 
and my bed is on fire. We are dressing and undressing,

our bodies oblivious to aging cells. I am part 
of the dance, our teeth rattling, notes 

of the background music rising like burnt paper 
over sailboats and tugs. Our breath, 

a smoking furnace. The smallness of our confusion 
in a sumptuous world. The wind ablaze.

Life Span

The ants go marching without provocation, 
soundless clusters as small as eyelashes. 
They track into the house, wiggling through cracks, 
under windowsills, in spaces between floorboards 
and doors. They enter from the underbelly, seeking
food and shelter. Why does their invasion happen
in summer, when rhubarb stalks preen their glossy 
leaves toward the sun? I find them crawling 
on the floor as I rise from downward facing dog, 
sense them tickling my arms and neck when I sit 
on the couch. I routinely smash batches of them 
with my fingertips like little berries, but they leave 
no mark, they leave no tracks. I flick them off 
as casually as I say Jesus as a curse throughout the day 
without even realizing it. I wonder what their soft 
bodies would tell me in the last seconds 
of their lives. I don’t believe in resurrection. 


Susan Michele Coronel lives in New York City, where she owns and directs a preschool. Her poems have appeared in publications including Spillway 29, TAB Journal, Gyroscope Review, Prometheus Dreaming, and One Art. In 2021 one of her poems received a Pushcart nomination and another was a finalist in the Millennium Writing Awards.