Chris Tusa was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. He holds a B.A. in English, an M.A in English, and an M.F.A. from the University of Florida. He is the author of Inventing an End and Haunted Bones. His poems have appeared in Prairie Schooner, The Texas Review, Spoon River, Louisville Review, Passages North, Louisiana Literature, The New Delta Review, Lullwater Review, StorySouth, New York ... more »
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Chris Tusa Poems
In a Marriage Certificate
Deep in the cotton petals of a watermark I see my father stacking sheets of plywood, his hands freckled with sawdust, his silvery
A Retired Voodoo Priestess Dreams of Rev...
Only three days and already I loathe this place, this milk-white morgue, this smiling slaughterhouse, where girls in straitjackets grow fat on pills, floating on pale clouds of Clozapine,
The Tooth Fairy on Welfare
A sudden surge of boys with their smiles punched out, care of a local Tough Man contest. It was all I needed
Fear of Weather
Once a favorite conversation piece, now something more like a disease. A weathervane sings, a wind chime clangs.
Like a trick you crawled up Hitler's sleeve, a crooked cross with bent arms, two cursed S's twisted together
Divine and white, you’re an aspirin fit for the gods, the powdery ghost of Gandhi conjured into a bottle,
My grandmother’s teeth stare at her from a mason jar on the nightstand. The radio turns itself on,
Christmas in the Psych Ward
The schizophrenic girl twists off a turkey leg then scoops a spoon-full of corn onto her plate. Her hair is a black brain of braids,
Snow White, to the Prince
after Susan Thomas Truth is, my life was no fairytale, that afternoon, I lay, a smiling corpse
The Sky is Falling
The sky is falling. And Henny Penny is nowhere to be found. There is no bright blue cartoon sky,
Maybe it’s Emphysema, a shiny black jewel of phlegm humming like a clump of bees in my chest. Perhaps a tumor crawling in the crook of my armpit, a blood clot opening like a tiny red flower in my brain.
Ode to Gumbo
after Sue Owen Born from flour anointed with oil, from a roux dark and mean as a horse’s breath,
Ode to Cancer
Imagine a tiny black flower, the nurse says, blossoming in your spleen.
The Disappearing Act
I sill remember my father, on Sunday nights, When he dressed up and played magician, smiling as he pulled bright blue handkerchiefs from the tiny white mouth of his fist,
Comments about Chris Tusa
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886)
(26 April 1564 - 23 April 1616)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
Edgar Allan Poe
(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849)
(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
(31 May 1819 - 26 March 1892)
(16 August 1920 – 9 March 1994)
In a Marriage Certificate
Deep in the cotton petals of a watermark
I see my father stacking sheets of plywood,
his hands freckled with sawdust, his silvery
white skin flickering in the sun, my mother
standing beside him, measuring each plank
of wood, her eyes like blackberries floating
in a pool of milk. She says, 'There's something
wrong, ' and fog settles like an argument.
A Coca-Cola bottle sweats on the picnic table,
the petals of pansies curl into tight yellow fists,
and my parents stand there, like boards that won't
fit, like two splintered edges ...