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.



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