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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.

 

On a Succession of Mornings

The wheelbarrow. 
Stakes and string. The rake.
Stacks of paving stones. 
The foldable workbench. The saw. 
The man grizzled and gaunt. Plaid
shirt faded above work pants, 
his scuffed brown boots.

The earth bared, rake-leveled
and pounded flat. Him kneeling, 
setting the cut pavers into a pattern
he starts with a central Moravian star,
a design best seen from above.

What I know: that Nature will not wait.
Green will push up between the stones.
The pavers, laid like pastilles on the tongue, 
will disappear edges first as if melting, 
to be swallowed invisible. That the man
will not live to see this.  That he works 
slowly but steadily, concentrates 
on keeping the pattern true.

Copyright © 201 by Cathie Sandstrom. Originally published in The Comstock Review, Fall/Winter 2009-2010. Used with permission of the author.

Copyright © 201 by Cathie Sandstrom. Originally published in The Comstock Review, Fall/Winter 2009-2010. Used with permission of the author.

Cathie Sandstrom

Cathie Sandstrom

Cathie Sandstrom lives in Sierra Madre, California.

by this poet

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
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
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