Catherine Barnett


Because here, this far east, this far away,
there’s no Pacific, no sister, no clock set to the real time,
I go down to the Hudson whenever I can.
More broken than usual,
all churned up and shaky, the river this morning
makes no progress to speak of, nothing much floats by
but a few red leaves caught on the rocks.
The water takes water into itself,
as if by emptying it could be filled,
or filled, emptied—
and I see it’s not all gray—
where the water rises up there’s shadow,
where the buoy is chained there’s chain and rust
and a still white bird turns sideways
like another face.

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