Catherine Barnett

Living Room Altar

Except for the shirt pulled from the ocean,
except for her hands, which keep folding the shirt,
except for her body, which once held their bodies,
my sister wants everything back now—
If there were a god who could out of empty shells
carried by waves to shore
make amends—
If the ocean saved in a jar
could keep from turning to salt—
She’s hearing things:
bird calling to bird,
cat outside the door,
thorn of the blackberry against the trellis.


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