Cathy Barber

The Subject

is love.

The form is bulbous.

There are echoes of horses,
of cranes flying low,
their throats’ rumble
as they land.

There is panic spreading
as you age.

There are echoes of
narrow doorways,
ladders and paint,
a bedroom.

There is a light, an engraver
and tortoiseshell glasses.

The form is a sheet
folding and unfolding.

Your signature is required.

There are false starts and
labyrinths in the dark.

There are symbols,
surely there are symbols.

The form is a leopard
lifting her cub,
those teeth, the silken

There are echoes of shoes
retreating in the hallway.

Pity enters the warehouse.

Toss it out on its ear.

Consider the walrus,
the mantis, the swan.

Consider your options.

The form is liquid,
the subject to be determined.

There are echoes of bread
being broken,

your mouth, your swallow,
the taste.


Cathy Barber’s poetry has been published recently in Pinyon, Tule Review and Canary.  Her work has been anthologized many times, including in The Cancer Poetry Project 2 and Changing Harm to Harmony, an anthology about bullying. She is a 2013 graduate of the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA in Writing program. You can email her at  Her absolute favorite sweet is bread pudding.

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