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C.N.P Poetry 

  • Writer's pictureCathexis Northwest Press

Caul: Remove with Utmost Gentleness

By: Christy Sheffield Sanford

Around herself, my mother spun a veil of regret. Worm gone wild with secreting. Regal moth

encased in shroud – shimmying on a knife edge between life and death. Strangers enjoy toying

with creatures. I helped a caterpillar cross the road, frustrating its trek to a hog-nut hickory.

Parachute jumper lands in silk confusion. To reach her I must climb under fabric. Can’t breathe.

I am tramping over the big top. Shinnying under the tent to see the circus of hidden desires.

My mother dressed in style – bat wing dress with cowl neck, a caul allusion.  A Georgia duchess,

she was uneasy marching in a platoon, foot-soldier in an enrobed army. A cover up is about

eventually being naked. Variation of a quote from fashion designer Vivienne Westwood.

Any barrier that separates us also keeps sex or intimacy at bay. I was bobbing in the sea of

sadness when I saw him. Neptune exploding from foam like Champagne from a bottle. My

mother had drawn the blinds of existence. He reminded me of sunlight and effervescence.


Christy Sheffield Sanford lives and works in North Florida near the Atlantic Ocean. She has won an NEA in Poetry and is the author of seven small press books including The Cowrie Shell Piece (Baroque and Rococo Strains) and The Italian Smoking Piece. She holds a MA from Antioch University in Creative Writing and Interarts. Her video animations "Julia Child's Legs," "Poe's Purloined Molars," and "Nadine's Shoulders in Moonlight' have been published online. She has work forthcoming in A Room of Her Own, Open, and High Shelf Press.


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