Vegetarian Vampires Walk into a Bar

by Susan Rich Issue: Spring/Summer 2020

after Remedios Varo

insert straws into fruits and flowers,

drink the lifeblood of a watermelon,
a tomato, a five-petaled rose.

Their faces appear as expressionless

as businessmen
about to go under; their new suits

woven from subsidized chaffs of wheat,

are already frayed at the knees.
From underneath twin bowler hats

flash enormous golden ear wings.

Perhaps they are listening to a botanist’s
lament for the dying or to the rap of lemon thyme.

Perhaps they’ve arrived too late to save the world’s 

gardens. Still, we will stage protests
in alliance with their waves of grain.

Underneath the vampires’ barstools

two pet roosters laze about, their combs and wattles 
luminous— their speckled collars

hand-carved from the finest melon skins.



Susan Rich

Susan Rich is the author of four poetry collections including Cloud Pharmacy, shortlisted for the Julie Suk Prize and The Alchemist's Kitchen, Finalist for the Washington State Book Award, Cures Include Travel and The Cartographer’s Tongue, winner of the PEN USA prize Poetry Award. Along with Ilya Kaminsky, she coedited The Strangest of Theatres: Poets Crossing Borders (Poetry Foundation). Rich has received awards from 4Culture, PEN USA, The Times Literary Supplement (London), Peace Corps Writers, and the Fulbright Foundation. Individual poems appear in Alaska Quarterly Review, Harvard Review, and Poetry Ireland. She has two collections forthcoming: A Gallery of Postcards and Maps: New and Selected Poems (Salmon Press) and Blue Atlas (Red Hen Press). Find her at http://www.susanrich.net.