Poem: Sue Landers

Illo for Sue Landers's poem.


In her mansion Michelle Williams
doesn’t know I said,
let’s burn down the mansions.
Even though I secretly want one.
In her mansion Michelle Williams
is part of a long line of land owners
starting with the ones who took this land
with their powder and blankets,
their knives, shells, and beer.
A long line of homeowners who go back
to the turn of a century and a man
who called his houses in Brooklyn
an alternative to the cliff dwelling living
of Manhattan.
In her mansion Michelle Williams
met a real estate agent
who called her soon-to-be house “Tara.”
That fictional house whose owner owned people.
A house set on fire by soldiers.
A house then restored to what the owner called glory.
A woman who felt empty inside.
In her mansion Michelle Williams
makes her own soap and knits cardigans.
Eats non-genetically modified squash.
Invites her friends to a séance in the parlor.
Stands in her nightie by the window at Halloween.
She is a caterpillar a sprite a nymph.
The hawks build nests in her eaves.
In her mansion Michelle Williams
tucks all the money she made
from selling her 8 million dollar rowhouse
for a Tara worth about 3
under the mattress of her round, crimson bed
where she sleeps under a painting of a tiger.
In her mansion Michelle Williams
can see my apartment building from her balcony.
A building protected by laws.
Laws that protect the rent from increasing
up to a point, a point after which all bets are off.
Meaning the outcome of the situation is unpredictable.
Meaning any prior agreements are null and void.
In her mansion in Brooklyn
Michelle Williams
is just
a stone’s throw
Susan Landers’ latest book, FRANKLINSTEIN, tells the story of one Philadelphia neighborhood wrestling with the legacies of colonialism, racism, and capitalism. She is also the author of 248 MGS., A PANIC PICNIC and COVERS, both published by O Books. Her chapbooks include 15: A Poetic Engagement with the Chicago Manual of Style and What I Was Tweeting While You Were on Facebook. She was the founding editor of the journal Pom2 and has an MFA from George Mason University. She lives in Brooklyn.

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