Susan Butler

The January Editor's Pick Poet is Susan Butler

Please feel free to email Susan at: ouisuzette@gmail.com

susan butler


Wolves come home to rest on autumn evenings.
They warm their hearts in the slanting sun, faces up to the dappled brightness, teeth gleaming,
fur fragrant with the wild forest, with the warmth. Breathing deep,
they come to rest where garden meets wilderness.

I am no stranger with them;
we aren’t strangers to resisting, refusing
to be tamed, to be taught,
degraded, imprisoned. We do not surrender, authentic
in our own skins, and no one’s
I am no stranger to flaying away misleading skin, peeling it back to grow
freer, fiercer,
in honor of myself.

We feel safety in our company. Maybe
we feel invincible.

No fear. Let the man run, let him try,
let him run.
It isn’t much of a sound he makes to carry through the falling darkness.
It’s just the thunder of a stray heart, a begging, the thunder
of pounding blood knowing there is no escape.

He will never escape what he’s seen behind my eyes.
He will never find his way down the mountain.

They never do
once we wolves give chase.


You left many ghosts
in my care.

You left the ghost of
your voice, your
rage the thunder in my ears
that shakes me unexpectedly in the dark.

Your ghost comes out of my mouth
when I speak of myself.
Freak, you say, Failure;
those names like hexes you spoke at me,
always threatening something more.

You left many marks
engraved in my skin, still etched
on what is left of me, on what I haven’t yet peeled away
to erase your touch, your every touch, your marks
the ghosts of fangs
and venom.

You left ghosts of your hands,
bruised the throat of my hope
where you strangled it, wrung it
your handprints remain
where you twisted my goals into grievances.

You left one of your ghosts
in the corner,
in the space where I always hid from you
until the day you found me.
This ghost stands there still, still and hot,
all eyes,
the way you stood over me like a disobeyed god.

Your boot prints appear and disappear, laden ghosts
crushing down my bones
to unimportant grime beneath your weight, your weight
somehow less heavy
than the fear tightly packed inside my chest.
You left many ghosts
in my care.

But these ghosts of you
are only half of what you were,
only your echoes, your aftermath, the nightmare
of you,
not you,

and this is my relief.


The voice that carried to me like an extinction
spoke only the language of war, painting horrors
with the caustic eloquence of rage in a fatal tongue
which you could not perceive failed to be human.

The war machine led you to desolation, so reduced
to an apparatus of your enemies, just another
foul, powerful spoil of ravages, that you are lost to me, to me now
nothing but a raw wraith. Still,

battered by waves, I remain your bonfire
at the edge of the blood-red sea
so if your eyes caught my light from so far away
you might find your way home,

you might find your way home.

Susan Butler is a British-Polish artist and writer. First a graphic designer who ran her own design studio, Susan then spent life traveling the world from her home in Germany. After living in Europe for a decade, Susan came to the US to study Art and World Cultures and Languages, where she remains. Susan writes fiction and poetry in French, English and Arabic. Her poetry has been featured in The Slake, Ink in Thirds, Lynx, and she has new poetry forthcoming in Prismatica, Cauldron Anthology and other literary journals.

A small sample of her work can be found HERE

...and she is @ouisuzette on social media.