Della Watson


from limb by limb


dear whittler,

daisy’s trimmed stems in water.  a gentle eye looking on.  the humid hung all day, the
gray soaked all the way through.  i am folded in the first pew.  catherine behind me
whispering a word or two.  careful daisy to mark the wear on each bone; a pencil is safe.
my hands palm down.  she always plays the chickadee, old black cap sweet song—

rain tomorrow,








catherine again has locked her-self in the cellar.  she is pitching potatoes to the east wall.
her bare-feet are no doubt cold.  underground, all air tastes of cough.  i’ve been in the
kitchen, stirring the dinner-pot.  when i’m alone, i take sips of broth.  now there’s a meal
that can last and last and last.  the cellar runs the length of the house.  the table-cloth is
white, my fingers brown from summer.  sometimes a sound forms in the back of my









following a simple pattern, catherine effects our autumn costumes.  the hulled wind will
find us stitching her hair into the seams.  i tie a cracked shell round my neck.  (the ghosts
keep seeping through.)  gull; tell me how long a sea-man should inhabit a leaking vessel.
–there is a clear ticking and another which we cannot hear—








catherine saves the babyteeth in a mason jar.  quiet little pinenuts.  some strange women
read the world in a throw of bones.  i find her, sometimes, like that,     midnight and her
jar tipped over.  all teeth spread across the wide oak table.

                                                                                         dear body, how ever shall I








catherine has been away.  i’m alone to tidy the house.  for gracious callers i am not lacking
conversation . the ground beneath the apple is bedded in violets.       finger pocket bouquets.
if she told you all she knew,