top of page

C.N.P Poetry 

  • Writer's pictureCathexis Northwest Press

Letter for the End of the World [Redacted]; Girl Figure; Litany or Other Names for Drowning

By: Caitlin Ferguson

Letter for the End of the World [Redacted]

Listen, I tried to unmake [ ] the little apartment trees bent over and so thirsty 

[ ] Yesterday, the sidewalks swam, all those greening 

drank [ ] sea water once made the Organs [ ] Then ocean things pressed  

their bodies into mud and turned [           ] Each fruit on the counter

rots, a fast brown [ ] tufts of Bermuda outside the back door

[ ] cactus crusts, all exoskeletal[ ]chewed through [ ] I forgot

creosote smells like rain and not just life [ ] of stars, an after gleam

a rendering. [ ] of all the bits down into what [ ] can and can’t be [ ] 

here with me [ ] In July, when the whole world melted, we sang Walking

After Midnight until the sun split [ ] in half and lonely like Plato’s

monsters [ ] or God particles [ ] tender

as the skins of succulents plump with water and happy [ ] Of course

we’re happy with the bees and vodka burning [ ] desperation and the body

[ ] lights up like kindling. [ ] I’m sorry [       ] I can collect 

what’s left [ ] the ash [        ] of a family [ ] or a California 

sapling. [         ] the rivers have been long gone, dried out and empty

[ ] nothing but puddles of winter light [ ] a sick yellow. [      ] Listen,

we’re all on fire [ ] in the glow of a city [         ] afraid to sleep.

Girl Figure

I open up a space in the shape

of a body. Name it girl & monster.

This space doesn't hold up so well.

A stand-in for what leaves or has left,

little bits die off & you can't blink

or you'll miss my body. How I can

make it with straw & wire, muslin

stretched between my stems, & grow

the way other green things do. Greening

until the greenness falls away, & I can trace

its exact shape in city dust, the dim flush

of light, now that I'm older & so tired.

Litany or Other Names for Drowning

Sometimes I think my desert is like an ocean

that pulls me under. The way

it covers me, crests and troughs,

piles and splutters, steals my water,

and turns it into sand. There’s a current

here, too, below the surface where

the earth’s cool to touch. Sometimes,

I want to dig deep enough so it can pull

me under and fill me again and again

and again as if I could be like those old

ocean things who pressed their fishbodies

into mud and became stone just so they could be found

But, mostly, I think about those plants I watered until

their roots rotted, turned to mush.

Each spring, I kill them over and over and over

because I can. Because I want to.

And, I know my desert, the one

that stretches behind my tongue, is not

an ocean; that I’ll wake tomorrow

morning then the next morning until

my future self is as still and as flat

as a lake without wind, a strange, tide less

mirror; that, one day, I’ll paint a body

as an ocean with wave after wave revising its skin.

And, later, I’ll look at that picture

and think fuck you and, I’m sorry

I killed those plants.


Caitlin Ferguson holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Rutgers-Newark. Her work as appeared in The Volta, 2River View, Tar River Poetry, Twyckenham Notes, and is forthcoming from the Colorado Review, among other places. Currently, she lives in Las Cruces, NM.


bottom of page