Catherine Staples

The harbor hardly sleeps at night, what with
listening in, glittering. Masts hover and sway
while keels answer in watery knocks, their own way
of saying things. Within the house some rift
prevails; my mother opens all the doors but one
to uncover the latest grievance. Fury without
the slamming. By day she smolders with night
truths, eyes downcast under her hat. She won’t
speak, can’t understand. Her grief needs an enemy.
Orion’s belt so low in the summer sky it’s ready
to sink like Hector’s great spear bereft of his strength.
We all lost him; it’s the unsaid word in each breath.
None of us fit for the wind’s work, we’ll trust
to the house that took a hurricane, held hard to the isthmus.

Catherine Staples is the author of The Rattling Window and Never a Note Forfeit. Her poems have appeared in The Gettysburg Review, Kenyon Review, Poetry, The Southern Review, and others. She teaches in the Honors and English programs at Villanova University.
Originally published:
January 1, 2019


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