Catherine Chandler's Lines of Flight - Poems: Excerpts




For Wilkes-Barre

The Susquehanna runs its ancient course,
passing by and passing up my town.
Being a river, it carries no remorse
for flood, for mud, or for the tumble-down.
Being a river, it has a total lack
of reverence for triangles of stars,
or for those aged breaker boys with black-
choked lungs drowning their pain in local bars.
And in its rush to reach the Chesapeake,
it sweeps to Maryland; it swirls, it pulls,
not knowing it was once an upstate creek.
The Susquehanna has no truck with fools
like me who spurn its blighted, brown advice,
wavering near its waters. Thinking twice.

—Catherine Chandler
(originally published in Texas Poetry Journal)


Shadow Fish

Great hoarfrost stars
arrive with the shadow fish
clearing the path to dawn.

          —Federico García Lorca, from "Romance sonámbulo"

For the mothers of the disappeared

Here they come, the ravenous sharks of morning,
feasting on the moon and the stars and planets,
swallowing the glimmer of light that's rising
            green in the distance.

Barn owls blink in tacit approval. Cold and
unconcerned, the crickets and frogs keep singing.
Soon the cock will crow, and the fox will charm a
            hare from the woodlot.

Far away the five o'clock whistle blasts its
warning at the desolate crossing. Aspens
shiver. Shadow fish are retreating, silver,
            dragging you with them.

—Catherine Chandler
(originally published in Comstock Review)



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