Cathexis Northwest Press

© 2018 

Visitation; I Buried My Father; Student Poems
Visitation

 

Bridget, my German Shepherd,

appeared to me before she transformed

from metered rhyme to free verse.

 

Her knowing brown eyes

once told me I was pregnant

months before I knew.

 

I had to leave her on a horse farm

twenty-six hundred miles behind 

after a decade together, together, together.

 

Years later, driving east from home,

I saw her in the sky – Bridget – 

clear as a crescent moon.

 

She had come to watch over me, 

to say goodbye one more time before she 

floated deeper into that unspoiled sky. 

I Buried My Father

 

                        ~ after Li-Young Lee

 

I buried my father in Ohio snow.

Since then, the sun rises to warm

his shoulders. At night,

stars can tell 

he’s the life of the party, 

so they try to imitate

the Kentucky beauty

of his eyes.

 

I buried my father beneath.

Since then, he thrums

in my blood, in my lungs,

in all the gifts I can

hold in my arms, 

in the grip and flourish

of my hands.

 

I buried my father in the piano – 

the one he bought

with his life.

Now the keys press down

to the rhythm of his breath.

Every hammer is

attached to his heart – 

all the accidentals black

as his wild raven hair.

Student Poems

 

Some are Victorian ghosts sipping tea with their pinkies raised,

overly fond of old words – 

accoutrement, ambuscade, 

bodkin, bethink.

 

Some are fundamentalists inclined toward 

legalistic rhymes,

strict syllable counts,

marching band rhythms.

 

Most, though, are fledglings who haven’t noticed

they have wings, but they lean, 

they lean east,

into the next lift of wind.

Colette Tennant is an English Professor in Salem, Oregon. She has two books of poetry, and has had poems published in various journals including Prairie Schooner, Rattle, and Southern Poetry Review. Her most recent book, Religion in The Handmaid's Tale: a Brief Guide will be published this September to coincide with Atwood releasing the sequel to the novel.