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Poems from Mid Drift

by Kate Hanson Foster

Prayer

Along the Riverwalk,
refuse skirts the southern bank.
White foam pools below
the cantilever.  I've come here
because I don't expect to be found.
Dear God:
what should we make
of what has gone wrong with my life?
All day I could watch
dead water. I'm in love
with a lunatic,  I drink too much,
and I no longer believe in recovery.
I want back what disappears
into the crook of the canal.
Dear God:
this is my persistent letter,
my pinched bead,
my hymn that tolls and darkens,
this is my church bell shaking
off the birds.


Mill City

No human echo—
Just a hum that drips from the street

wires, a pulse that lets loose
from the glass of vacant storefronts.

My mind is filthy with old, dear secrets.
Another room sinks into its pine boards

and someone comes to assign value;
pull sewage out of the canal.

So much left over from so much
ordinary life.

I am seduced
by the red X on buildings

where no one bothers. Another ceiling
gives in and my gutters fill.

It is the unlit room,
the windowpane that keeps hold

of that flat ochre light.
It is absence.

And not even post and beam can escape
the flutter of that grey wing.

A crack opens another foundation—
Something in the flesh trying to beat its way out.

Just watch it go.


Paper Breath

Dry and dusty
writer, how your lips forget

themselves, how your voice
has taken you by the tongue.

Words like tiny crosses
on the side of the road

crumble and crawl
into your mouth.

My God, you better cling
to those bones,

you better write your name down
on paper and swallow it.

From Mid Drift. Copyright 2011 by Kate Hanson Foster. All Rights Reserved.