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Catherine Pierce


Love Poem to Sinister Moments

You are the dead swan
floating in the Susquehanna.

The red moon before a storm.
You are the series of scars

on a daughter's arm. The tidy
pool of blood on the 7-Eleven counter

and the small white-haired woman
who wipes it away.

You are, when I'm driving,
the sweet smell that may

or may not be poison
gas spilling over the city.

You are cartoons interrupted
by war, the odd-tasting

drink at last call. You are
the gunshots I mistake

for celebration. Lancaster
cornfields, and behind them,

Three Mile Island, smoking
against purple horizon.

Your confidence astounds me.
You arrive uninvited,

grind glass into the pâté, spit
in the gin, and are gone. I want

your perfect broken backbone
for my own. Your long, thin fingers

that always know exactly
which string to pull,

which card will send
the house tumbling down.

Apostrophe to the First Gray Hair

O small silver rope by whose noose
I will, if lucky, hang-

You are the highway's white stripe
dividing toward from away.

The hairline fracture
on a slowly swaying bridge.

Light plummeting earthward
years after the star has turned dark.

                     -from Famous Last Words