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.



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