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Statues

Susan Wicks, 30 July 1998

... They stand here in a shocked silence, these grouped bodies in cold dresses, their eyes downcast; the hands quietly gesture from this flaking grotto of wishes. But something flares in a corner – gladioli, tongues spurting into darkness: someone has been here before us. Is it food these people are asking or their freedom? We wrench the heavy door open on a flat world, an ordinary crossroads, silos swaying in a hot ripple ...

My Mother is Dispersed

Susan Wicks, 23 February 1995

...                    The open window admits her body. Soapy water still circles the shape of her rough finger, the steam from the runner beans displaces her only slightly. I fill my lungs with her, turn, expel her gently into sunlight. The grass under the apple-tree pushes up into her. A creeping wasp buries itself deep in her dark places ...

Plates

Susan Wicks, 21 March 1991

... To Alison When they gave you your plates to hand on to some new doctor, you held them up to the window and saw the sky in them, the river running through your skull, twigs meeting at the cerebellum, your brain uncurling, tentative as a snail on its late glide-path. Since then I have often thought of snails and their reflexes, seeing a slice of America green through your head’s filter ...

Miniature

Susan Wicks, 19 August 1999

... A useless art, yet half the world has mastered it. Small plants to occupy the foreground, a pine-needle fence. Bracken uncurls to a thin tree; a salient overlooks the world. She must resist the urge to place a stone like a ruin, big as her fist. Seedheads, a line of sorrel poplars, where a lake of mirror shines in its still place at the centre – the phoney water she can fill with her face ...

Two Poems

Susan Wicks, 22 June 2000

... Wild Bees At first they come singly, outriders clinging to a thorn, a blade in my path, or hovering inches from my cheek, and then they’re faster, thicker, a dark whiplash, a moving cylinder of dark; the whole sky is black. There’s no way round. I hide my hands, tighten my small circle of hood, and go on walking, my eyes sealed shut – an effigy carved in green wood – as I tense myself for stings, listen for flying bodies to dash themselves against cloth like rain on canvas – but there’s only breath vibrating, a seethe of wings that parts to let me through, unmarked ...

Two Poems

Susan Wicks, 22 February 2007

... Nuclear Each morning as I round the bend, the same shock – that flash of river light, the bridge, the cooling towers – always that first sight gasp as if they’ve been dropped there – Yet the landscape knows them: a fragment of old stone moves sideways, and through a tangle of red the river glitters, the bridge spins out its turquoise cobweb and there they stand like a cruet – squat on the flood plain, lit apricot, steaming quietly into this end of night ...

Terrible Teacher

Justine Jordan: A novel by Susan Wicks, 21 May 1998

Little Thing 
by Susan Wicks.
Faber, 155 pp., £9.99, May 1998, 0 571 19344 7
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... cause and effect) and of experimental fiction, and marks a point where prose moves towards poetry. Susan Wicks’s background in poetry illuminates and informs her fiction (she has published three collections, as well as a memoir, Driving My Father). Both Little Thing and her first novel, The Key, use poetry’s building-blocks of partisan fragment ...

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