50_Sureck_Blaze red.jpg

Blaze Red

Suzy Sureck

Black ink and red pigments on Rives paper

9 x 20 inches


Gardiner, NY

Blaze red   


A blaze of red, vibrant against the greyed forest through today’s rain.

Cardinal on a branch outside, visible between two yellow tulips 

on my table by the window.  

Blaze red

Blazing red

Blaring red

and blue, 

scream sirens as they race toward overfilled hospitals.

White refrigerated trucks wait outside, as workers prepare 40 beds each. 

Mobile morgues terrify me. They line the streets as they did when planes tore through buildings, through a city and through lives. 

That was 19 years ago, a week after I began to live part-time upstate.


Can I breathe oxygen into each lung, breathe praise into exhaustion to lift spirits beyond so much witnessed death? 

Can I ease the fear that helping others can kill their own? 

Can we live in a politic of empathy and kindness?


Holy water is sprinkled on row after row of coffins, many buried in unmarked sites.

No-one is there to comfort the dead as they move from this realm to the next.


Pandemics are not new, they reside in our ancestral trauma, 

like fire, floods and drought appearing in the rings of trees. 

The lungs of the forest breathe more deeply as ours fill with the virus. 

Bluer skies are exhaled where once was smog.


The cardinal has flown from the space between the tulips. 

Color was his song today, 

a red blaze still lingers in the grey woods.