Kate Hanson Foster


The world was not my undoing.
It was something smaller.

A house inside of a house.

A place where darker veins eel together.

And my body
on a mattress looking up.         Not at the world.

But at minutes turning loose off the clock.
You need rest, my husband says. The children are
playing in the yard.

When did the sound of joy
become an urgency? I wondered.

You need to relax.

And would you believe me
if I told you that in this place there was a door

deeper. A little capsule falling
down my throat like an anchor.            A synthetic
heaviness, and then sleep.

It is that room.

Still as a bar of iron.

No wind or children or touch of hands over hands.
Not even that voice crawling its way in:

Soon, you will have to make dinner. Wash their hands
and feet. Put the baby on your hip.

 The mighty mother able.

What was I then but skin
splayed over a match.

Froth on a simmer.      My life

rushing out like grease spitting into a fan.


About the writer:
Kate Hanson Foster’s first book of poems, Mid Drift, was published by Loom Press and was a finalist for the Massachusetts Center for the Book Award in 2011. Her work has appeared in Birmingham Poetry Review, Comstock Review, Harpur Palate, Poet Lore, Salamander, Tupelo Quarterly, and elsewhere. She was recently awarded the NEA Parent Fellowship through the Vermont Studio Center. She lives and writes in Groton, Massachusetts.

Image: White Crow and Peacock. Illustration in Cooper, F. T. (ed.) Bransom, P. (ill.) An argosy of fables; a representative selection from the fable literature of every age and land, New York: Frederick A. Stokes Company. 1921. Copy held by New York Public Library. Circa 1921. Public domain.