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About this poet

Catherine Staples is the author of two poetry collections: The Rattling Window (Ashland Poetry Press, 2013) and Never a Note Forfeit (Seven Kitchens Press, 2011). She is the recipient of the New England Poetry Club’s Daniel Varjouan Award and Southern Poetry Review’s Guy Owen Prize. Staples teaches at Villanova University and lives in Devon, Pennsylvania.

Anna Kuerner

                        After Andrew Wyeth’s “Groundhog Day”

The painter who wanders your house night and day,
sketches his way in and out your back door,
kitchen, barn, and milking room, he’s erased all trace
of you. Look, your favorite tea cup, the one
that’s snug to the curl of your forefinger, even that’s gone
bleached white as moths, something a dream tossed back.
The print has disappeared from the china rim—no more
apple bloom or trumpet vine vining a smooth weave.
No gray green, salt blue, faint as any wave
glimpsed from distance. Day after day
he paints you and the dog sleeping—shut eye, wolfish
set to his jaw—then the bunchbacked skittery quick.
But in the end, the dog disappears as you do.
Cup, knife, plate. His fangs menace from the rough-cut
log beyond the open window. And you? Are you the strip
of light glancing the wall, obstinate refusal to quit
or give in? It was your hands set the table, raked the grate,
chopped firewood far side of the pines. Is it your quiet
the painter caught? The long slow place before the scrape
of a gate lifts from its hinges and your husband strides in
fresh from New Holland, rushed talk of horses, calves, and tractor
gusts the room like an unseen wind, settles to the porcelain
chink and domestic sing of knife on a dinner plate.

Copyright © 2013 Catherine Staples. “Anna Kuerner” was published in The Rattling Window (The Ashland Poetry Press, 2013). Used with permission of the author.

Copyright © 2013 Catherine Staples. “Anna Kuerner” was published in The Rattling Window (The Ashland Poetry Press, 2013). Used with permission of the author.

Catherine Staples

Catherine Staples

Catherine Staples is the author of two poetry collections: The Rattling Window (Ashland Poetry Press, 2013) and Never a Note Forfeit (Seven Kitchens Press, 2011). She is the recipient of the New England Poetry Club’s Daniel Varjouan Award and Southern Poetry Review’s Guy Owen Prize. Staples teaches at Villanova University and lives in Devon, Pennsylvania.

by this poet

poem
Henry Thoreau who has been at his fathers since the death of his brother was ill & threatened with lockjaw! his brothers disease.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson
 
 
Like Achilles smearing his face with soot,
shearing his hair at the
poem

As in green, vert, a royal demesne     
stocked with deer. Invert as in tipped
as a snow globe, going nowhere in circles
but not lost, not bereft as the wood
without deer, waiting for the white antlered
buck, or his does, or any slim yearling
to step along the berm,

poem

The Old Manse, Concord, MA

Would anyone hear it—
the hearth mouthing the language
of flames in summer, small

 

rips of wind in still air? Would anyone
passing through these rooms--
wheel on their heels, return

 

to the slim something in air