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Category archive for: Kate Northrop

Stray

Four days he circled, his fur

matted with mud-sludge and thick beneath

with burrs we imagined

tight against his skin, though he moved

each night, further in: mornings, his prints

(the mud dried within

here and there, into tiny peaks) marked

the steps of the porch

then the porch itself, until

in daylight, we’d look up

and he was there, sitting

beside some farm object—truck,

white lilac, compost heap—

erect as a question

though calm, direct, a tourist

posing by a monument, hands

folded quietly, neatly dressed.

Though quick as he arrived

he was off, down the road through the corn

where we never remember seeing him.

from Clean

Copyright © Persea Books 2011
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Persea Books.

Clean Houses

As in a mirror

Your face steadily there

The magic of a clean house is

It is and will not appear

No one can see into it

Although the chair is here

The rug is here yet it

Resists, does not appear

Even family framed in photos

Something’s always gone

Something’s left to which

You cannot respond

Children, say, or their shadows

Gathered by a lake

What was the name

Canandaigua? And then that’s clear

As a refrain is clear

Rising toward you who listen

Closely in houses

That do not appear

from Clean

Copyright © Persea Books 2011
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Persea Books.

Late Aubade

Early October,

Snow over the meadow

The campsite we’d made

At the end of summer

Was somewhere there

Though I never promised,

Did not say I’d return

One way or another

To the Snowy Range,

To the furthest lake: still, black

As a mirror back,

And the entrances closed.

I never said anything

As someone standing in a corridor

Says nothing in a corridor

Or I shifted: near, close

from Clean

Copyright © Persea Books 2011
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Persea Books.

Night Snow

Slight hiss, as a canoe

Pulled back over grass

And the flakes

Widening where they slip

Into patio stones, that place

Dark as a small lake

Closing over at the edge of the yard.

Nights like this,

The necklace on the dresser

Pools there, glitters

Clean as the detail

Remembered in dreams, though still

It is a guilt gift

And glitters, and pools there

So the names, the faces

Drawn through names,

Rise in the night snow

Often and light the yard.

from Clean

Copyright © Persea Books 2011
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Persea Books.

In the Snow

Now there’s a man in the distance

And you are driving the car

Now he is in the distance

No bag beside him no car

And you see he is complete

As a knock as a dog’s bark

But belonging only to himself

In the empty road in snow

Now there’s a man in the distance

And you are driving the car

from Clean

Copyright © Persea Books 2011
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Persea Books.

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