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Anna Catone


Wherein I Become Expert at Waiting

At the bedside behind the ambulance between the flurry of sails
sheets that flap and change in the wind’s new direction
here at the letterbox at the computer by the telephone
where the sky changes over the fields to a dark swell.
The grasses shift. The leaves just beginning sway.
Nothing happens. The real the unmistakable the feeling on the tongue
in the mouth what goes into the lung the belly into the depths the heart pounding
has not made its visit. Will not make its visit. Anything can happen.
The shed in the back will change its color will find itself in new paint and trim.
Michael raking leaves will grow a beard will hold the dog take an acorn out of her mouth.
A man will drive by in a golf cart and turn into the drive.
But knives and shields and tiresome monsters and the stuff that heroes have in their belts
will not figure on the lawn the field the strange cactus growing on the rock children
and the strange feeling in the head knocked against a closet door and thrown scattershot
around a room. Is it God someone said is it belief is it faith is it what is
but what resonates is silence and the emptiness of what was real made fantasy.
The voice that said the words just a mouth just lips moving behind electrical wires
over a distance moving further into the upper levels where it’s a mouth looking
at the earth moving and talking and saying little things nice little things pretty things
and the sea is looking back and the twisted storm clouds and the mountain range.
So is it nothing is it just vast emptiness a black hole a gap the presence of absence?
The mouth makes its talk. The mind stares at a striped carpet at the water on the desk
at the cool water that once felt like entering the world at last and finally like being alive
but just now it goes down the throat like matter. A person at the edge of the field grows
further away. Halfway around the world in another time zone. The ties and strings and
life breath a spider web brushed aside in the dark in the bathroom. This is it.
Back to the dead to the buried spot of undergrowth somewhere behind a hedge say
where you might bury a cat or a dog. The little losses. Betrayals. Dissolutions.
The way the day goes on and on and on and then the week the month the months.
To be sharply alive thrown from the airplane in the cut and cold of the hard air.
To burn up in a blunder in a moment without one’s shield in a moment of pure clear talk
when all the lies one tells oneself one tells the world disappear in an instant of blue air.
I stare at the face star out there and say the words I meant to say. I burn up like the star.
I stare at the moon between us. The earth tilts under. The seasons change.
The sidewalk dies to itself. My mouth moves the mouth in the sky makes its whisper.
Standing on the desk the body must make its ache.
Back down on the carpet it will roll itself round. Stir the milk in the coffee.
The earth spins spins mercilessly against loneliness
dark energy.


Listen to Anna Catone read "Wherein I Become Expert at Waiting:"




will come like a train on a track.
It will run you down

with its big, orange engine that does not stop
for the worn and weary, the fallen,

failed, unwarped, unwoofed,
uprugged, upended, and do it: start all over agains.

Whole continents, worlds, what you thought might have been milk and honey
will burn up, dissolve in its dust,

and then, not what you thought.
Street noise, traffic.

The sound of a dog’s whine
in the morning.

Some other unexpected I,
some new body of rooms

still hungry for what’s next
will come even here,

here in the broken and violent world
gone bad, the window’s glass

a fragmented mirror split on the floor
and looking up at you,

something else,


Listen to Anna Catone read "Daylight:"




Anna Catone’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in the Boston Review, Chautauqua, Commonweal, The Los Angeles Review, The Meadowland Review, and elsewhere. Recently, she was selected as a finalist for the Ellen La Forge Poetry Prize. She is poetry editor at The Cortland Review and lives in Southborough, Massachusetts.
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