New Poetry by Catherine Barnett

From Her Collection Human Hours

September 10, 2018  By Catherine Barnett

Lyric and Narrative Time at Café Loup

Has it passed quickly or slowly? the young women asked
with eerie timing—

At exactly that moment an old astonished cockroach
crawled out from the spring salad laid before me

and walked like a creosote angel across the white cloth.
The women must have seen me blanch or the waiter

sweep clean the table with a piece of fresh warm bread.
What was it? they asked,

What happened?
What was it?

The most pressing questions are naive.
For example, who invented hours? Who stole the hair from your head?

Whenever I see a bald spot I want to shout a little,
in praise. Such ephemera between my salty legs—

Time is one part of the body that never gets washed.
All those moments between the neurons!

Where are you going? the women asked, though I’d hardly moved.
Where are you hurrying to?

Catherine Barnett
Catherine Barnett
Catherine Barnett’s third collection, Human Hours, has just been published by Graywolf Press. She is the author of two previous poetry collections, Into Perfect Spheres Such Holes Are Pierced and The Game of Boxes, winner of the James Laughlin Award of the Academy of American Poets. Recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Whiting Award, she is a member of the core faculty of New York University’s Creative Writing Program, a Distinguished Lecturer at Hunter College, and an independent editor. She lives in New York City.

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