A New York Sketch

for David

The undone shoes in your pied-à-terre
Face down my luggage on stumped feet:

Dachshunds of Samsonite, mute and laid bare
Beneath hangers. We leave only to eat.

No glance from your model
Night doorman: no wink, frère to frère,

In heat. The lobby is empty
Of dog owners, mail and the other

Tight-roped walkers — toothsome fakers
Like ourselves. What are we? Darling? Wear

The beard on your lips like brocade
On a hispid chair. My hand strokes the mate

To a door’s lock, gone into at length: far
From the promise of your paper jamb and frame.

by Susan Comninos

The poem’s original title was “Upper West Side Roman à Clef: a failed ballad of 86th St., in

Susan Comninos is both a freelance journalist and poet. Her journalism’s appeared in The Atlantic Online, The Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, Christian Science Monitor and Jewish Daily Forward, among others. Her poetry’s recently appeared in journals including the Harvard Review Online, Subtropics, TriQuarterly, Malahat Review, The Cortland Review, Southern Humanities Review and The Common. It’s forthcoming in The Good Men Project, J Journal, Spoon River Poetry Review and Subtropics. She recently completed a debut book of poems, called “Out of Nowhere.”

What surprising, fascinating stuff can you tell us about the origin, drafting, and/or final version of “A New York Sketch”?

“A New York Sketch” has its roots in autobiography. It treats the one-sided love affair between a young woman and a successful, middle-aged man. From the start of the poem, we see their different investments in the relationship. Like many who move to NYC to become — something: painters, journalists, even poets — the poem’s narrator is initially naive, at least in her understanding of her partner, and she fails to decode what he reveals about himself.

Naive or not, the narrator’s attachment is real. But so is her epiphany, at poem’s end, that whatever success she achieves (in love and work) will be realized — or it won’t — independent of him.


Congrats to the Best Small Fictions nominations from Matter Press for Compressed Creative Arts: Sara Backer’s “Oh, What a Night”; Dan Crawley’s “Powers”; Jill Talbot’s “Malahat Highway on Boxing Day”; Christopher Allen’s “Falling Man;” and Kathy Fish’s “Five Micros.” Congrats to Christopher Allen for being chosen to appear in BSF 2019 from Sonder Press.

Check out the write-up of the journal in The Writer.


Poetry, creative nonfiction, and fiction/prose poetry submissions is now open. Check out our new category triptychs! The submission period closes June 15, 2019; submit here.


05/23 • Nance Van Winckel (1 of 8)
05/30 • Nance Van Winckel (2 of 8)
06/05 • Rachel Rodman
06/06 • Nance Van Winckel (3 of 8)
06/10 • Erica Soon Olsen
06/12 • Beverly Jackson
06/13 • Nance Van Winckel (4 of 8)
06/17 • Avra Margariti
06/19 • Tommy Dean
06/20 • Nance Van Winckel (5 of 8)
06/24 • Stephen Reaugh
06/26 • Hege Lepri
06/27 • Nance Van Winckel (6 of 8)
07/01 • Danielle Hark
07/03 • Shirley Harshenin
07/04 • Nance Van Winckel (7 of 8)
07/08 • Matthew Barrett
07/10 • Andrew Stevens
07/11 • Nance Van Winckel (8 of 8)
07/15 • Peter Cherches
07/17 • Christopher Ryan
07/18 • Alex Durham
07/22 • Jessica Kehinde Ngo
07/24 • Jillian Pretzel
07/25 • Danielle Hark (1 of 6)
07/29 • Theresa Senato Edwards
07/31 • Stephanie Dickinson
08/01 • Danielle Hark (2 of 6)
08/05 • Callista Buchen
08/07 • Sara Elkamel
08/08 • Danielle Hark (3 of 6)
08/12 • Steven Ostrowski
08/14 • Karie Luidens
08/15 • Danielle Hark (4 of 6)
08/19 • Nick Ackerson
08/21 • Tyler Friend
08/22 • Danielle Hark (5 of 6)
08/26 • Suzanne Verrall
08/28 • Amelia Wright
08/29 • Danielle Hark (6 of 6)
09/05 • Richard Baldasty (1 of 4)
09/12 • Richard Baldasty (2 of 4)
09/19 • Richard Baldasty (3 of 4)
09/26 • Richard Baldasty (4 of 4)
12/23 • Tara Campbell