Poem of the Week | May 09, 2022

This week’s Poem of the Week is “Blue Perennial” by Susannah Lodge-Rigal.

Susannah Lodge-Rigal is a teacher, writer, and editor living in Berkeley, California. She holds an MFA from Colorado State University, where she received the 2019 Academy of American Poets Prize. Her poems have appeared in Seneca Review, The Journal, DIAGRAM, Colorado Review, Puerto del Sol, Ruminate, and elsewhere.


Blue Perennial

You   flicker   you   swallow you   gull   undrowned   &

skyward   you     halved     poplar   spring-thick     you

scouring rush   returning you cicada synced with old

hum   you tall   grass   grown   middle-out   you door

swung wide swung shut   you cattledog circling   you

love song sung into the dirt you fog-hid harbor   you

long-leveled field you kestrel flitting off   elm branch

you   watching through   the barn   roof you   erasing

your   name   with     light   you   mistaken   you   bad

patterning   you     bright   blur   crossing   over   you

building questions at the base of my   throat asking

which blue perennial   keeps you & which keeps you



Author’s Note

In “Blue Perennial,” thou has many faces; each of them suddenly possible and pulled into the speaker’s attention. The I of this poem finds each of these possibilities urgent, and so swings them into orbit and speaks them out loud. “Blue Perennial” is part of a larger series of ecological and elegiac poems. Formally and substantively, these poems probe conditions of loss and companionship, and within those conditions, the necessity of care and attention. This poem is grounded in ecologies most dear to me—the fields and forests of the American Midwest—and celebrates the many bright companions to be found there.