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Cathie Sandstrom

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Cathie Sandstrom

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.


by this poet


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
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
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