The August Preoccupations
So this morning I made a list
of obsessions and you were on it.
And waiting, and forgiveness, and five-dollar bills,
and despots, telescopes, anonymity, beauty,
silent comedy, and waiting.
I could forswear all these things
and just crawl back into the bed
you and I once slept in.
What would happen then?
Play any film backwards and it’s elegy.
Play it fast-forward it’s a gas.
I try not to get attached.
I see stars when I look at him.
Copyright © 2015 by Catherine Barnett. Originally published in the Summer 2015 issue of Tin House. Used with permission of the author.
Catherine Barnett was born in Washington, D.C. and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. She studied at Princeton University and at the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers.
Barnett is the author of Human Hours (Graywolf Press, 2018); The Game of Boxes (Graywolf Press, 2012), which was the recipient of the 2012 James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets; and Into Perfect Spheres Such Holes Are Pierced (Alice James Books, 2004).
Of Barnett’s work, April Bernard has noted, “With subtle and cumulative force, The Game of Boxes builds a complex poetic structure in which fundamental questions about motherhood, trust, eroticism, and spiritual meaning are posed and then set into motion in relation to one another. The mind is delighted, the spirit enthralled, by this wonderful book.”
Barnett’s awards and honors include a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Whiting Writers’ Award. Barnett, who also works as an independent editor, is the distinguished lecturer at Hunter College, the visiting poet at Barnard College, and teaches in the creative writing program at New York University. She lives in New York City.
Human Hours (Graywolf Press, 2018)
The Game of Boxes (Graywolf Press, 2012)
Into Perfect Spheres Such Holes Are Pierced (Alice James Books, 2004)
Date Published: 2016-04-11
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/august-preoccupations