Poem of the Week

curated by Meg Day, Allison Adelle Hedge Coke & Niki Herd

Brought to you every week ish—to help you over the hump.


January 20, 2016 / Katharine Coles




In a world full of poison you survived

The copperhead you carried into 

Your mother’s kitchen whipping 

Its tail while she screamed. Your father

Beheaded it with a shovel on the linoleum 

Then beat you blue. That was just  

The first. Later came water moccasins,

Rattlers, asp at breast

And scorpion at the heel, black widow 

Hiding in the laundry minding 

Her own bloody hourglass until your hand

Reached in: the world provided 

No such end but left you after

All that for me and for me counting down

Bite by bite what eats you.





Copyright © Katharine Coles





Curator's Notes: Meg Day

I heard this poem for the first time at the CityArts Reading Series in the Salt Lake Public Library & couldn’t stop thinking about it for weeks. While some might argue that all poems are love poems, Eileen Myles taught me long ago that one saves one’s best lines for the love poem—they are distinguishable by the long wait of their lines & the long weight of their lines’ lives. I am so moved by the way this small poem turns so gracefully on its axis in the last line of stanza two: the world might collapse, explode, bend, break, or finally take a long breath in that space. Instead, it begins.









Katharine Coles' sixth poetry collection Flight, will be out from Red Hen Press in 2016. Recent poems and essays have appeared in Virginia Quarterly Review, Poetry, and Crazyhorse. A 2012-13 Guggenheim Fellow, she teaches at the University of Utah.

























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