poem index

September 2, 2010The Arsenal Building, Central ParkNew York, NYFrom the Academy Audio Archive

Gold River

Catie Rosemurgy
The arch in the bridge. The moment of architecture. 
The island where you lost your mother's keys. The photo she sent
of someone who looks like her walking to the point 
where the land becomes reminiscent of dissolving of flesh. 
The trees stamped onto our minds like traumas 
are supposed to be. The frightening blanks where the stores were. 
The sense the owners died. How many people killed by logs, 
do you think, over the years? The moon sitting greedily 
on your house. The carrying of one another 
when young, light, and poisoned. The doorsteps 
we were left on. The fox scat. The extra points in school. Who knew 
how prominently quarries featured? Only once or twice in a lifetime 
does one find the suicide or hear the primordial screaming. The towns nearby 	
that survive on museums of their earlier burning. The dreams set
in neighbor's houses. The mounds with hooves and bones sticking out. 
The gentle sloping. We will always be swimmers 
digging into the thaw. The former newness. The various cuts of meat. 
The places cats won't go. The climbing out onto the banks. The naked man 
working harmlessly in the woods. Like a milkweed or fox 
you are something that parted the dirt here. The rotting
that sets in when you leave. 

Catie Rosemurgy, "Gold River" from The Stranger Manual. Copyright © 2010 by Catie Rosemurgy. Used by permission of Graywolf Press, Minneapolis, Minnesota. www.graywolfpress.org

Catie Rosemurgy

by this poet

What is red and singing on the inside, gray and moaning on the outside?
(The opera house)

What is green, damp, and stuck between the forest's teeth? 
(The doctor)

What drags on the floor and catches fire? 
What reveals the girl's legs while destroying them? 
(The afternoon sun) 

What grows tall, blocks the

Thank god he stuck his tongue out.
When I was twelve I was in danger 
of taking my body seriously. 
I thought the ache in my nipple was priceless. 
I thought I should stay very still 
and compare it to a button, 
a china saucer, 
a flash in a car side-mirror, 
so I could name the ache either
When I was young, I hid under the porch with a star in my throat.
When I got a little older, my mother opened the cupboard to let the fire out. 

I should’ve known the cliffs meant a coming blankness.
We should’ve noticed the competition growing deadly between the masts and the trees.
The problem wasn’t the