Two New Poems From Catherine Garbinsky

Today we present the second two in Catherine’s quartet of new poetry, handpicked for Animal Heart Press.

Photo by Alex Holyoake on Unsplash

ALOE VERA

I lost the story mid-sentence. My voice breaks into shadows,
runs up the wall. I am Icarus, I am Achilles.
I should have seen this coming.
Silent suffering gives way to
a text message: “help.” You find doubled over
behind the couch. You find my voice,
piece it back together on the way to the hospital.

I am a hole that will not close. Swollen and gaping.
My body doesn’t want to heal, or can’t remember how.
“You should have come sooner.
You must have been in so much pain
for so long.” I didn’t understand,
I though we were all suffering silently together.

In the weeks that follow, I am a child again.
You help me walk, take me to the bathroom,
tuck me in at night. You hold me together
better than the stitches do.
You are calendula flowers blooming inside of me.
You are aloe vera, calm and cool.
In time, my scars disappear
like rubbing walnuts on scratched furniture.
Healing is different than hiding.
It is not so pretty, it is not so neat.
Tomorrow I will tell you a story.


A SPELL OF EMPTINESS AND LIGHT

Embracing emptiness
in the hollow of a tree,
or a seam ripped wide open—
small                                 holes, a memory of stitches.

Dig a hole

before a seed can be planted,
press fingers into the yielding earth,
make room for new life.

The light of the sun,
                               a reverie
I am swept up in, praising its return each Spring.
Nests begin to take shape, with every straw and feather and thread.
In emptiness
                                there is a sacred waiting.

I swallow the clouds
                                whole
to make room
                                in the sky for stars.

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