Poems by Ken Cathers


pretty things


don’t know if

it’s finished yet


this pretty thing

I’m working on


has ignored me for days



is out prowling

the village


may return with

a live bird

in its jaws


a small dismembered

rodent. . . one can

only hope.


is it too much to ask

for a few stolen lines

            a stray image


pray it doesn’t

scavenge too close

to the heart of the night


grow blind

with darkness


bring nothing back

but hunger



and Jonah



and Jonah

knew the whale

was sent

            for a reason


for him, who

couldn’t swim

couldn’t drown


kicked against

everything. and


the whale was

the world

swallowed him whole


took him to the one

place he had

to be   always


spat him out



but hollow inside

blind this time


broken, remembers

nothing   almost.


waits to be

filled with voices

become other


wants none of it. . .

wants to be unchosen

sent back


awaits the unravelling

of days


watches the sky

for thunder


the ocean

for the slightest


            of whales




what it is


it is a blemish

that won’t heal

a sore that weeps

            clear liquid,


it is a pest,

irritant, will not

be ignored


something to pick at

pinch between fingers

like a flake of skin

            that will not tear away.


it is beyond

the realm of ointments

medicated cream


your doctor avoids answers

suggests prayer.


it matches all

the descriptions.

            leaks blood.


has become the focus

of every waking thought

            becomes larger


becomes something

you can

            no longer doubt


has acquired a name

characteristics. . . .


you curse

the gradual process

            of stages


resist the idea

that it is all important

all consuming


keep busy

wear long sleeves

high collars, avoid


the harsh light

that reveals

without mercy..



Ken Cathers has been published in numerous periodicals, anthologies as well as seven books of poetry, most recently Letters From the Old Country with Ekstasis Press. He lives on Vancouver Island with his family in a small colony of trees.

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