KR OnlinePoetry

weekend-readsCategories of Understanding; From the Doorway; Apophasis at the All-Night Rite Aid

Categories of Understanding

I’m studying the unspoken.
“What?” my son asks.
“What are you looking at?”
But there is no explaining,
I can only speak the way light
falls, the way the cotton sheet
lays itself over his sleeping or resting
or dissolving body, touching him with
its ephemera, its oblivion.

From the Doorway

The night is covered
in books and papers and child

and I like having him here,
sleeping loose and uninhibited.

The room fills with sleep
and the poor dummy heart

already straining at my seams
makes the tearing sound.

Fear. Or laughter.
Love,

the strangest
of all catastrophes.

Apophasis at the All-Night Rite Aid

Not wanting to be alone
in the messy cosmology
over which I at this late hour
have too much dominion,
I wander the all-night uptown Rite Aid
where the handsome new pharmacist,
come midnight, shows me to the door
and prescribes the moon,
which has often helped before.

Catherine Barnett is the author of The Game of Boxes (Graywolf Press), which won the 2012 James Laughlin Award, and Into Perfect Spheres Such Holes Are Pierced (Alice James Books, 2004). Her honors include a Whiting Writer’s Award and a Guggenheim Fellowship. She teaches in graduate and undergraduate programs at NYU, Hunter College, and the New School. She also works as an independent editor and has degrees from Princeton University, where she will be teaching this fall, and from the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College.