Catherine Cafferty

Relic I

                       you are countless birds leering over 
                       countless winds;
                       in my sleep your neck a
                       range of heads in tireless rank and beak in 

                       pirouette the sky offers nothing

                       vision in ink night

                       this stream’s 

connection to a bay older than

                       a strait distilling—

                       something important I’d forgotten 

                       about replication

                       so send the birds off a two by two 

                       frame rising

                                                              pulled into sleep better by the lapping 
                                                              even when the sea is black, and fallen

Relic II

                       have not wondered when piercing is 

                       not an option in reeds like battlement 

                       hey bird it’s this—a thing

                       windward looks excitement but 

                       confinement in openness is what’s 

                       itinerant so pressed myself waveside 

                       like all the whiteness would capture 

                       it in the crest of the bay the

                       clouds kissing in

                       the balance of the bay a sea floor 

                       of dead krill

                       you laid

                                                   markings a wave toward sediment

                                                  the dream of flight for a marsh village

From the Author: The couplets grew out of a card deck I bought years ago in Brooklyn. The grief, the violence, the strange grace struck me and set the tone and form of the poems. I revised the poems last year, which seemed right during the depths of pandemic living.

Catherine Cafferty is a New Yorker living in Denver, CO. She works in education and has written some poems.