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About this poet

Cathie Sandstrom’s poetry has appeared in PloughsharesEkphrasis, and Cider Press Review, as well as the anthology Wide Awake: Poets of Los Angeles and Beyond (Beyond Baroque Books, 2015). She lives in Sierra Madre, California.

 

Releasing the Birds

Next to her embroidered lawn handkerchiefs
my mother's empty gloves lay
paired in the nest of her drawer: 

short white Easter ones that stopped at the wrist; 
netted crocheted gloves for summer; an ecru pair
four inches past her watchband, the backs detailed
 
with three rows of stitching raised like fine bones;
three-quarter length pigskin to wear under coats; 
black lace for cocktails, white for weddings;

sexy gloves with gathers up the length so they'd
look like they were slouching; the knitted 
Bavarians, Loden green, stiff as boiled wool.

My first prom dress—strapless, floor-length—I wore
her formal opera gloves.  Pearl buttons on the delicate
underside of my wrists, then the white went up and up.

I kept six pairs, my sister took the rest.  Saying
someone should use them, she gave them away
at work, set them out for the taking.   

Tonight, I lay the table with my mother's china. 
At each place, a pair of gloves palms up, wrists
touching in a gesture of receiving and giving.

I held back the gloves she'd bought in Italy: black
leather, elbow length, the right glove torn at thumb
and palm as if she'd reached for something too late

or held onto something too long.

Copyright © 2015 by Cathie Sandstrom. Originally published in Wide Awake: Poets of Los Angeles and Beyond (Pacific Coast Poetry Series, 2015). Used with permission of the author.

Copyright © 2015 by Cathie Sandstrom. Originally published in Wide Awake: Poets of Los Angeles and Beyond (Pacific Coast Poetry Series, 2015). Used with permission of the author.

Cathie Sandstrom

Cathie Sandstrom

Cathie Sandstrom lives in Sierra Madre, California.

by this poet

poem

with a line from Ciaran Berry

                  
Time to call out
the skirling ghosts, to count like beads
on an abacus, your disappointments.

This day began with my order
Do Not Resuscitate
accepted crisply over the phone.

Now I also move toward elegy,
ask
poem

after a line by Tomas Tranströmer

Freed from not knowing where you are,
I’ve traded the nagging worry for a shroud.

In the slim boat of each day, I stand
wary, look across the still surface.

Balance is all.  The undercurrent, strong.
Not the peace I hoped for, this
poem

          from Swedish, the path moonlight lays over water

The ghost child fastens
his mouth to yours,
breathes your breath
from you so you cannot
cry out.
               He drew you creek side,
where you hung terrified,
gripping the deep-shaded
undercut bank

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