Issue > Poetry
Charles Coté

Charles Coté

Charles Coté is a clinical social worker in private practice from Rochester, New York. Publication credits include Blueline, Free Lunch, Identity Theory, Modern Haiku, Connecticut River Review, Adagio Verse Quarterly and HazMat Review.

My Body

takes the shape of graves in church yards, of blossoms
falling off the tree, the roots of rhododendron
on backdoor paths. I press its hunger
into the osprey’s nest, a branch curled
toward heaven, rapt beaks and claws, an ache
in every soft belly. My body hangs
between a sycamore and black walnut,
between shale defining the shore, wind chimes
bright in the rafters. It spills
out to the marsh, to the heron's grace
in the current's meditation, lazing open
to the sea. My body, a diamond lair, a gaslit
labyrinth, a timbered kingdom that takes
the shape of flame before match strikes flint,
that listens to catbirds mewling for space
in flits and calls, brother to cardinals and crows,
gathering what it can of this spoken world.

Love Song

To fall from any great height, that sudden stop,
we've been together over thirty years, our love
a varnished table etched and so many gathered.
Back then the hymns still moved us.
We accepted the illusion of heaven,
these orchids like a lover's skin. Tell me
how you feel, the shape of God's doubt.
Once and only once the lily welcomed us.
Once the lake was a blue window
we jumped through into an empty sky.


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