Catherine Graham


Grown wild, unkempt hair,
floozy out the dirt—

turn the other cheek, stain-slap
contamination. Balloon moan of her belly.


I wait like a beach    
stone for your firm hand
to fling—

skip & skip
across the sidewalk

you’re orbiting
some other planet
red as Mars     

my mind rakes    
acres, light           
specked with empty

nothing to catch    
from falling

each midnight    
a head-chop crick 
at the neck     

final loss    
into snowball melt

blisters reversed

night ratchets    
the spin


shook blanket, quilt blue, aquarium thick—
                                                    shells, fish, sandy mattress

                                    Is to Was—

Oh, to be called to it

Catherine Graham is a Toronto-based poet and novelist. Her sixth poetry collection The Celery Forest was named a CBC Best Book of the Year, appears on their Ultimate Canadian Poetry list and was a finalist for the Fred Cogswell Award for Excellence in Poetry. Michael Longley praised it as “a work of great fortitude and invention, full of jewel-like moments and dark gnomic utterance.” Her debut novel Quarry won an Independent Publisher Book Awards Gold Medal for Fiction, “The Very Best!” Book Awards for Best Fiction and was a finalist for the CAA’s Fred Kerner Book Award and 2018 Sarton Women’s Book Award for Contemporary Fiction. Winner of the Toronto International Festival of Authors Poetry NOW competition, she teaches creative writing at the University of Toronto where she won an Excellence in Teaching Award. Aether: an Out-of-Body Lyric will be published next year. Visit her at Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @catgrahampoet.