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About this poet

Catie Rosemurgy is the author of The Stranger Manual (Graywolf Press, 2009) and My Favorite Apocalypse (Graywolf Press, 2001). She is the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, as well as the Rona Jaffe Foundation Award. She teaches at the College of New Jersey and lives in Philadelphia.

Winter in Gold River

Pretty girl. The weather has knocked her down again
and given her to the lake to wear as a skin.

Why am I always being the weather?
There were days in the winter
when her smile was so lovely I felt
the breathing of my own goodness, 

though it remained fetal and separate.
I was a scavenger who survives

with a sling and stones, but whose god
nonetheless invents the first small bright bird.
And it was like flight to bring food to her lips

with a skeletal hand. But now she will always
be naked and sad. She will be what happens

to lake water that is loved and is also
shallow enough. The thickening, the slowing,
the black blood of it, the chest opened
to reveal the inevitable heart attack.

God, the silence of the chamber
we watch from. What happens to water
that isn't loved? It undergoes processes.

It freezes beside traffic.
But the reaching out to all sides at once,
the wet closing of what was open?
That is a beautiful woman.

So of course I stand and stare, never able
to pinpoint the exact moment I killed her.

From The Stranger Manual. Copyright © 2010 by Catie Rosemurgy. Used with permission of Graywolf Press.

From The Stranger Manual. Copyright © 2010 by Catie Rosemurgy. Used with permission of Graywolf Press.

Catie Rosemurgy

Catie Rosemurgy

Catie Rosemurgy is the author of The Stranger Manual (Graywolf Press, 2009) and My Favorite Apocalypse (Graywolf Press, 2001).

by this poet

poem

Don’t worry. One kills in dreams
but wakes having not killed.

Having not killed is part of waking. Some mornings, though,
you lay there pinned under layers of light, fear,

and woolen blankets.
You know what’s right and what’s wrong,
what you don’t know is what happened
and if

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poem
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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
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