Catherine Barnett


Irregular song, irregular heartbeat,
stutter that neither
warns nor comforts:
I thought it was a man’s voice
all this time, calling for help.
I thought it was a man
calling scared from the ditch.
Hopeless barking it was, a dog trapped
somewhere, and lonely—
then suddenly quiet.
Someone must have hitched her collar up,
stitched her mouth down,
or shot her dead—
how else break such pitch.

Catherine Barnett
Aubade is from Into Perfect Spheres Such Holes Are Pierced (Alice James Books, 2004).