• Katharine Coles




Be a creature whose one will is life.

Grosbeaks and buntings fuss around the feeder


Of one mind: to eat together and drop

Back into the trees.  Be a leaf


Turning under wind, willing

To be shuffled and nosed by bees, no reason


Not to be known.  Give over as moose

Does to largeness and smell or


Like the dogs to voice or the continuous

Nuanced alphabet the weasel’s long tail


Draws across the grass; lift on evening

Updraft, one eye on the ground, heart


Rising with the body, carried—

Hold the body hard.






Her mother fasted and vanished

As will mine.  A form of self-


Mummification, my grandmother

Lying as I last saw her, dried to sinew, flesh


Bruised with anger that would not stop

Marking her from inside.  Many waters cannot


Quench love.  Will, then.  It cannot be accomplished

Impulsively.  Before she began, she broke


Her hip, or hip

Broke under her


Small weight.  Self losing

Itself falls into the hands of others


Meaning well.  Eschew determinedly.  Passing

Hunger, give up coffee.  Last, surrender


The highball taken every evening

For seventy years.  Love is better


Than wine, though even alone,

She put on lipstick. Water-starved, entered


Her swoon.  For I am

Sick in love.  Get one thing


Right: wet lips and tongue, do not

Swallow.  It would be a personal assault


For someone to force water.  Still, I would

Cause thee to drink of the juice


Of my pomegranate.  What gets transmitted,

In what order.  In truth I already sense


A bit of headache, cramp

Coming on.  All ages may feel sudden


Head rushes, dizziness.  The body swings

A hundred windows wide to blow in


Cold delirium.  Brace.  Self, I could be

Flooded, scoured by air.  Ravished


My heart.  Given

Lightness imagine flight.






Outside my window

Leaves cling to their branches, all yellow’s


Colors, refusing to fly until they do.  Where am I

But lost in a thicket of details, not knowing why


The red shoe lies on the carpet, its tongue

Lolling out, or whose back is vanishing


Out the side door. Is anyone home, I call

Into an empty room.  Are you coming back?




Lunar Eclipse


Lying in bed your shadow moves.  Lying

Thinking your shadow


Flies across the moon’s face.  Say time

To rise.  In the dark


Down here in brush and grass

Small bodies pulse.  Almost awake.  Say


Blink.  Naked eye

Watches the moon vanish, but


Your cheap camera made

For talking keeps seeing


A singular shining orb, not

The giving way, showing


A black field.  You

Are talking to yourself


Again.  Why won’t you

Settle for your eyes, memory


Failing?  Be a warm

Body without devices, watching


The lapsed moon darkly

Sail the hills.  It’s too early to call


Anyone and you’ve nothing

Going.  Ghost ship, shadow


Wolf, self-smudge.  Since before

You were time you’ve felt


This way.  Close your eyes

Then.  I say Close your eyes.