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C.N.P Poetry 

  • Writer's pictureCathexis Northwest Press

Charging Bull; Tin Boxes; A Silent Agreement

By: Katherine Shaw

Charging Bull

Red        flags        flash        to        ‘rouse

           a charging bull to follow

by vanilla scent,                                                    then slumbered slip

           and forget confection death                                  tomorrow

Regardless a signal’s truth                                          temptation

           must be kindled to caramelize

                          for bulls chase blush                                    not

           White       flags       of       idle       crystalline

Tin Boxes 

                        in her youth

                        my mother made turquoise rings

                        adorned herself with possibility

             breath            beauty

                        social lubricants and conformity

                        but life outgrows initial measurements

                        and delicate bands break

                        how could she combat a

             thirst   not     satisfied           by         clinking           bottles

                        her turquoise retires after

             swollen fingers                    pregnancy

                        a child never planned

                        but breathed anyway

                        there’s an idea that children give hope

                        a bad joke perhaps

                        in my childhood

                        she bought herself a ruby ring

                        her birthstone

             adorned        me       with     a          promise        of          her    longevity

                        but life outgrew initial measurements

                        and I’ve inherited

             broken bottles                     ashes                and a tin box 

A Silent Agreement

                                                   I will wash dishes

                                                   Laid too long

                                                   Sink water, grayed

                                                   Flooding house breeze with rot

                                                   Depression climbs to a scent

The cabinet doors closed with the wrong kind of silence

The pristine plates somehow offended

She didn’t consider the proximity of my skin

To the shards of glass, ricochet

Fewer dishes to wash, my gift

                                                   I deliver the rent

                                                   Ride my bike

                                                   Twelve is old enough

                                                   Handling hundreds, don’t get jumped

                                                   Our landlord appeased, amen

The deafening music barks throughout the night

That’s how I know our electricity bill is paid

She demands a volume that shakes the walls

Never mind tomorrow is a school day

There are demons to drown

                                                   I don’t complain

                                                   Greener grasses never seen

                                                   Daughters are caretakers

                                                   A silent partner in disorder 

                                                   Who gave birth, me or you?

The syllables crawl out from beneath the liver

The last utterance from a barely conscious mother

“I don’t remember you”

 We divide, are severed, a maternal divorcing 

A silence not of my making 


Katherine Shaw is a comedy writer for The Syndrome Mag, and her poetry has been featured in Clamor Literary Arts Journal. Her work has also been featured in FIVE 2 ONE magazine. Katherine resides in Portland, OR, and does her part in keeping it weird.

(The format of these poems may be skewed on mobile---read these poems on a desktop to see the work as the author intended)


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