Six Poems by Catherine Graham

All My Blue Januaries

Three of the last minute Januaries sent me
backwards, dead father. What is there that shines

from another day? Night breathes, saturated
with nevered emptiness, cracks language

into a circle of Sundays. The sun
was something we managed.

Blue-roaming blood, a noose is a necklace
you never got out of. I don’t want stars.

Ash is not light. The story is there—
dream-cornered. Leave the necklace

unclasped for the dead. The river has your hands.

Inside Us a Bird Called Home

When the nearing nows, inner rings
expand, imagination.

So much growth standing still.
Sometimes a ghost slips into your

bloodstream, a plum-black abstract
with wildcats stalks.

Sing before pain.
The hour dusks a slow brief bloom.

Spirits bridge, the vanish—
Time-divided moths shake-shiver, silence.

Behind this bandaged path, sun maps. Gone
moonflower, maple artist, Florida

berries, the knowing baker, blown-over
dandelions with wanting faces.

A fringe beauty—turn—
dead toward the tilted world.


going nowhere. Forest
won’t fit all the mouths
of the dead. Eyelids twitch

filmy illusions. A machine’s roar
smears. Chanting names
won’t rid the question.

Guard care sparingly. Don’t
give away endings. Land where
water holds. Sun-sparkle

second-skin. Stars carefully
satellite magnificence.

Ghost Apples

You are out of the forest now.
Icicle birds, having called, melted.

Ash tree, seen from a distance,
view to underground—

hold flash-happens,
so many goods —

the sleeping mind wants—all of it—
mixing gone with apple’s core—

leaving field in your bones.


Eyes open to a sun that stuns a gardener’s trick—
the concrete frog stifles the croak. Chipped paint, a new pain.

Form in another hops by her. Warts bubble on her hand.
She’s a witch in hibernation, simmered air, her cave.

This fortune-seeing inside dreams beams yellow riddles,
questions scut exclamation points. Who can be more than whom?

Apple blossoms spit at her face. Fruit splits the aftermath.

Squeezed Out Like a Blood Relative

Going through her things, staying
over, we aerogate 70.

Star for the body’s rise
grounded in everyday—

clock, doilies, glasses—
We stretch our haunt

to the taffy point—punch
holes for her death to poke through.

Catherine Graham is an award-winning novelist and poet. Her sixth poetry collection, The Celery Forest, was named a CBC Best Book of the Year and was a finalist for the Fred Cogswell Award for Excellence in Poetry. Her debut novel Quarry won an Independent Publisher Book Awards gold medal for fiction, “The Very Best!” Book Awards for Best Fiction and was a finalist for the Sarton Women’s Book Award for Contemporary Fiction and Fred Kerner Book Award. She teaches creative writing at the University of Toronto where she won an Excellence in Teaching Award. A previous winner of TIFA’s Poetry NOW, she currently leads their monthly Book Club. Æther: an out-of-body lyric appears in 2020 with Wolsak & Wynn/Buckrider Books. Tweets at @catgrahampoet

Banner Art and Full Image: “Winter Flowers, Winter Dust” — A collaboration by Moira J. Saucer & Robert Frede Kenter

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