Catherine Arra – Three Poems


Winter Solstice

In this inky womb

she links the stars
of all her midnights

weaves a cloak of smoky velvet
anoints her feet with frankincense.

She awaits her hour of balance
lighting candles
for the dead
for the living
for the light
she can not see
but feels as
a passion far too hot
for those who do not know
this swampy darkness
and fear drowning.


She can hardly bear the clicking
of the classroom heater
the unruly chirping of high schoolers, lunch gossip
or committee cackle.

Impatience peaks with static levels
phone buzz produces a scowl.
Bells cause a rash, and fire alarms
race her at a feverish pace.

At the end of the day she is like the dust
flitting on air currents caught under her desk.

Her lover doesn’t understand why on weekends she complains
about the radio, cringes at his suggestion to dine
at the Hot Spot Cafe
exiles the dog porch side to muffle thundering paws.

Saturdays she waits
mornings in bed, blinking at the whisper of leaves
the silkening of grass
startled by the occasional grunt of a tulip.

She shuffles past briars of civilized prattle
jungles of argument
bushwhacks language and tiptoes along ear canals.

She finds the precipice overlooking her lacuna
and dives.
Sensation ends
but for a hum, a rhythm,
and the first
modulations of a voice she needs to hear.


The Cherokee named you

the Cheyenne,

the Navajo said,

the Munsee,

the Algonquin pointed & called,

the Lakota,

Sacred power animal, essence yoked in form
they gathered your feathers for rightful passage & ritual
made music with your bones.
They danced the Eagle dance among thundering drums
carved your image high on totems.

Avian messenger bearing prayers aloft
you alone traverse realms, link heaven & earth.
Through you they knew
Great Spirit wings, whispers
delivers grace.


Author’s Statement on Beauty

I believe beauty lives in each of us as generosity, kindness and love. It’s part of our physiology as are heartbeats and breath. I find beauty in the interstices, the pauses, in the experience of stillness and sight. When outer reality and beauty connect, beauty is. The canvass on which we can practice and paint is as endless as spirit.


Catherine Arra is a native of the Hudson Valley in upstate New York. A former English and writing teacher, she now teaches part time, facilitates a local writers’ group and spends winters on the Space Coast of Florida. Recent work appears or is forthcoming in The Timberline Review, Boston Literary Magazine, Naugatuck River Review, Gloom Cupboard and Sugared Water. Her chapbooks are: Slamming & Splitting (Red Ochre Press, 2014) and Loving from the Backbone (Flutter Press, 2015).