Cate Marvin

Cate Marvin Poems

I carved upon my desk unsayables.
He drank until he vomited on himself.
Eavesdropping, the others resisted sleep.

I never recline in splendor,
I never take repose. The eyes
of an old woman are blue

Inexplicable, the sign outside a deli scrawled
and below that: ALWAYS.
But there were no flowers. And I have never
seen an Always. I would like to,

Roofers scrape the scaly lid
of an auto shop beside the house
where I live. Where I live
shirtless men tear at the black

Before I go let me thank the man who mugs you,
taking your last paycheck, thank the boss who steals
your tips, thank the women who may break you.

I rode him through the village, smiling.
He tossed his tasseled mane in distress.
The villagers took his gesture as vanity,

Dead girls don't go the dying route to get known.
You'll find us anonymous still, splayed in Buicks,
carried swaying like calves, our dead hefts swung
from ankles, wrists, hooked by hands and handed

Spokes, spooks: your tinsel hair weaves the wheel
that streams through my dreams of battle. Another
apocalypse, and your weird blondeness cycling in
and out of the march: down in a bunker, we hunker,

You think I like to stand all day, all night,
all any kind of light, to be subject only
to wind? You are right. If seasons undo
me, you are my season. And you are the light

Here's my head, in a dank corner of the yard.
I lied it off and so off it rolled.
It wasn't unbelieving that caused it
to drop off my neck and loll down a slope.

You are like a war novel, entirely lacking
female characters, except for an occasional
letter that makes one of the men cry.

I regard your affections, find your teeth have
left me a bruise necklace. Those lipstick
marks leech a trail, ear to ear, facsimile your

Cate Marvin Biography

Cate Marvin is an American poet. She graduated rom Marlboro College, University of Houston, University of Iowa, and University of Cincinnati with a Ph.D. She teaches at the College of Staten Island, City University of New York and in spring 2010 will be teaching at Columbia University. Her work has appeared in Ploughshares, Fence, The New England Review, Poetry, The Kenyon Review, The Paris Review, The Cincinnati Review, Slate, Verse, Boston Review, Ninth Letter, and TriQuarterly.)

The Best Poem Of Cate Marvin

After the Last Fright

I carved upon my desk unsayables.
He drank until he vomited on himself.
Eavesdropping, the others resisted sleep.
The house knew the pain of sun on lacquered floorboards.

I carved it with the tips of scissors.
A door creaked; he hung his head into the room.
Please, the others cannot sleep.
The shingles twitched like skin beneath moonlight.

I spent the afternoon at a movie theater.
He staggered through brush toward a pay phone.
The others continued searching the streets for him.
The house held the moon above it, it was that imperial.

I recall the room was empty when I came back in.
He was arrested at the Quik-Trip while calling collect.
Frantic, the others circled the block again.
The house was ghost-white, older than the dead.

I needle-pointed for 72 hours straight.
He claimed the whole situation humiliated him.
Relieved, the others refrained from asking him what jail was like.
The house was swan to field, tiger to sea.

I lay in bed by the time the others came home.
He couldn't recall putting on the orange jumpsuit.
The others asked if I'd seen him around.
The house shuddered, No-o-o-o.

The house winced, winked its blinds.
The house whispered I should stay inside.
The others flew out the doors and into their cars.
The others slammed their cars into deer and cried.

He was more humiliated than he'd ever been.
He looked more or less the same, though his eyes were ringed.
The others hid in the basement.
He climbed the stairs and presented a ring.

The house swung its windows wide to ice.
He banged his nails blue, pinned his tongue to his tie.
He packed himself in a box, sent it to regions far off.
The others pressed their ears to the pipes.

The house wore its flames like a hat.
The house called a radio talk-show.
We drank all night, laughed all night, the night he left.
I shook in its mouth till the house drank me up.

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