Poetry Corner

AE_authorEditor’s note: In this week’s Poetry Corner, we feature the work of Catie Rosemurgy, the author of two poetry collections, “The Stranger Manual” (Graywolf 2010) and “My Favorite Apocalypse” (Graywolf 2001). She teaches at The College of New Jersey and lives in Philadelphia.

A missing tooth and a fang.
A bloom and a sand storm.
A chain letter and a trap door. A can opener and a kiss.
A moracca and a spear.

Lowered eyes and a suddenly somewhat disconcerting blow job.
A baroque flute flourish and an eerie silence just beyond the cabin wall.

A tube top and a biohazard mask.
Goldilocks and the tongue of a bear.

A little blackout on what you think was Tuesday
and a little black spot on your latest chest x-ray.

AE_StrangerManualA little black period
that holds down words like a tack
and a bright little universe
that loves to turn black.


You know that you think the flower is beautiful, but what else do you want to know
about the flower? What else can you know about the flower? What can you do to know
the flower? You can pick it, sketch it, wear it, put it in a vase. Hang it upside down to
dry it. Press it in a book, or read up on it in a book. You can write a book. You can get
access to a microscope. You can give it away. You can stand beside it and cry for
the brain’s tendency to create beauty and then perceive it as unknowable.
It isn’t like smashing your thumb, is it? So you pick the flower. It could be a daisy, but it might be
a rose, the kind of rose that has lived its entire life sipping the mist from the air, the
kind of rose that has a throat, a throat that is always moving, the kind that has petals
you can watch getting further and further apart and you can see growing more and
more petals in its center, the kind of rose you can watch until your head becomes
heavy, saturated, and exponential and starts to loll. It could be that kind of rose, and if
it is, do whatever you have to, but make it stop.


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