Thursday Jan 27

Gauthier Marie Gauthier is the author of a chapbook, Hunger All Inside (Finishing Line Press, 2009), and recent poems can be read in The MacGuffin, Cave Wall, Hunger Mountain, Magma Poetry, The American Poetry Journal, and elsewhere. She won a 2008 Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Prize in addition to Honorable Mention in 2010. She lives with her husband and two young sons in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts, where she works for Tupelo Press and co-curates the Collected Poets Series.

Invocation to the Dream as Sinker
She can hear the whistle
of her son's nap from two
rooms away
where her coffee's growing cold, her eyelids
fluttering in their ruched
the sun's gleam like a lemon
drop through the skylight, sky
a frescoed blue—
how sweetly the current tugs:
the oasis of sleep, the warm
frothing sea
of sleep that surrounds the oasis—
nothing easier in the world
than to succumb—
when comes the wave, the sonic
swell and roll, a subterranean lowing whose
rouse her, wondering at its source: him:
this mournful whale song flows
from her boy,
beached by a faraway dreamscape,
his chest quivering like aerated
gills, his fingers
curling and uncurling—she presses
his hand between hers, whispers
into his ear
until his disquieting music ebbs to breath.
Although the disquiet itself
till late that night her husband wakes
her with an eerie din of his
Turn on a light! He pleads in a voice writhing
from the depths, though he's
next to her,
prone and pointing to where
the walls and ceiling meet. Look!
Turn on a light!
She knows his eyes are closed.
She smoothes small circles
on his chest,
asks him the next day if he remembers
what it was he saw—their child
can't fathom
bad dreams—it could be a question
of perception, his diurnal
more play than plaint—but
the distortions ripple and over-
they flood her head like the clamor
of sea angels beating their
milky wings.
But her husband shrugs. Sand scours
her lungs. When she blinks,
she sees star-
After a Fight
The wind blows cold
through the blackthorn.
Sloe berries sugared by frost spangle
and shiver its branches—the ground
bleeds violet.
Pricked fingers to our mouths, we step
in silence around the brambles.
Fisher cat yowls are carried
from the squall line,
high-pitched portents of winter’s
full brunt still to come. Its eyes
the shadows, an umlaut of caution
to the house pets hunkered under hedges.
Snow spits
in ragged pirouettes.
We’ve already forgotten
how sweet the rain on spring’s first grass.
chars our neighbor’s chimney.
We walk with our hands stuffed
in their separate pockets.
Distinct from Trees
The kindling’s caught fire—
your first lament sparks
wild, an electric
flex and spring.
Only the green pine refuses
to burn.
The sphere of new grief
is the late August sun, cracked
egg bubbling on the hot
skillet, the cross-section
of an umbilical cord, cut
and clamped.
Poise’s errata arrives
late, later than now, later than
the stars collapsing
your heart.
Next spring, perhaps,
you’ll return to these woods,
to the sap’s indelible
stamp. But will you ever again
stand as tall?