Catherine Strisik


The return would be to here on the edge but not too close to the edge but close enough where the breaking of waves but not so close that balance is lost though mist is felt against the arms’ flesh near the crook of the elbow in that bend or at that angle where I’d step in so close this time you would not be able to breathe it would be your turn to not breathe and none of this was planned. Not even the carpenter ants. Although if I allow my mind to wander off balance again to the bend the only bend on the island where we were warned not to go it’s in the brochure no one has been saved who falls in here the undertow and feldspar but just the same aren’t we willing to descend.

Previously published in Insectum Gravitis
(Main Street Rag 2019)

Past Tense

Tongue me you said folded lengthwise.

Charm me I said at this sagebrush

O beautiful prey,
tibia spines
walking hairs,
my neck arched back.

Only your, primrose
deliberate splendid desire.

In the background trembling in pale
yellow gesture
delicate I heard?

My mouth burned with clover.

And, the constriction.

Previously published in Insectum Gravitis
(Main Street Rag 2019)

Catherine Strisik, Taos Poet Laureate 2020-2022; author of Insectum Gravitis (2019); The Mistress, New Mexico/AZ Book Award for Poetry 2017 (2016); Thousand-Cricket Song (2010, 2nd printing, 2016); co-founder Taos Journal of International Poetry & Art; nominated for a Pushcart Prize; numerous publications include Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, Drunken Boat, Connotation Press: An Online Artifact, Tusculum Review, Poet Lore; teaches poetry workshops in northern New Mexico.