Three Poems by Catherine Graham

Parts of the Song Where the Dead Come From

They dream through us.
Grapes raisin into light, the terroir
glistens in our cups.

Re-entry without thought-want mix—
mind’s wax and wane.
We hold the dead’s moon.

Full. Not full.
Forever light-trapped.
Framed by Earth’s tender angle,

we cart the dead’s voices
through our dream-cells—
etches in morning, frostglass.

You Can’t Fail If you Haven’t Gone Anywhere

Go on, marinate
in your negative bliss.

We are all a walking forest.
We need speech to speak

through doors, open pauses.
Unlock the lost thoughts

where the glass light thickens
into the distance—unhinging

leaves—they fall, feather
like birds. We fall, we feather.

Hold the Dark

She cups her hands—
fingers stretch
to its weight.

How you must hurt.

All the portions
taken from you,
stemmed tendrils,

dent in sun, torn

disappearing. Run

to the stone hedges,
unlock the penny closed.
The dark

is one leaf. I can’t
say enough
of what sheds.

Photo by Marion Voysey

Catherine Graham is an award-winning poet, novelist and creative-writing teacher. 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. Michael Longley praised it as “a work of great fortitude and invention, full of jewel-like moments and dark gnomic utterance.” Her work has been translated into Greek, Serbo-Croatian, Bangla, Chinese and Spanish and she has appeared on CBC Radio’s The Next Chapter.  She teaches creative writing at the University of Toronto where she won an Excellence in Teaching Award. Publications include The Malahat Review, Poetry Daily, IceFloe Press, Glasgow Review of BooksGutter Magazine, Poetry Ireland and moreA finalist for the Montreal International Poetry Prize, she has won the Arc Poetry Award of Awesomeness and her poems have been nominated for the 2020 National Magazine Award by Exile Magazine. Her debut novel Quarry won an IPPY Award Gold Medal, “The Very Best!” Book Awards for Best Fiction and was a finalist for the Sarton Women’s Book Award and Fred Kerner Book Award. A previous winner of the Toronto International Festival of Authors’ Poetry NOW, she leads their monthly Book Club and interviews for By the Lake Book Club. Æther: An Out-of-Body Lyric is her seventh poetry collectionHer second novel, The Most Cunning Heart, is forthcoming.  Twitter/Instagram: @catgrahampoet

Banner Art: Detail from, “This Radiant Radial Splendour“, A Visual Poem (c) (2021) by Robert Frede Kenter. Tweets: @frede_kenter

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