The CSS Awards - Site of the Day


Cathy Kodra

Kodra brings the poetic form to bear on the institualization of art, but a look back reveals the way every writer, through creation, destroys.



Before the workshop, my poem

contained the reedy boy, a cheerful red wagon, and a chirping

cricket perched atop a mossy stone wall. Cattails, smooth-worn

and brown-skinned as the Velveteen Rabbit, gathered on one line.

Burdock crowded a quaint cow pasture in stanza three, and yes,

there was a cow (although cow should not appear here a second time),

and she bore a softly clinking bell around her guileless neck. Her name,

secreted deep in benign, mocha eyes, was Bess.


A clump of burs clung to the boy’s white sock like a misplaced boutonniere.

His sun-pinked face beamed in a morning given to adventure. The red wagon

creaked along behind him, wooden side rails hiding his cargo. A gregarious brook

at the meadow’s south end bubbled in sheer joy at the prospects of this day.


The well-versed leader spoke first and soon cast out the pleasing ring of the cowbell.

The cow herself, erased from the page, a smudge of graphite the only vestige

of her warm-blooded life. Not long after this, the rabbity-skinned cattails

were rendered colorless, vague, for we all know a cattail. The Velveteen Rabbit

scuttled back to his hole, and the pasture, no longer quaint or studded

with sticky burs, paled along with the boy’s blanched face and blank socks.


The brook’s merry warbling in the middle of things, a persuaded poet

to my right insisted, muddled the grassy pasture theme. He strongly

advised that we dry it up.


We! As though the boy and the wagon and the cow

weren’t mine!


As my turn ended, we all thought we heard

a tender, pleading moo off in the thick

copse beyond the pasture’s disappearing

border, and perhaps a faint, disconsolate

blip from the bothersome cliché of a cricket.

The moss and stone wall? Gone. A mere trick

of the mind’s eye.


What the boy pulled in his wagon

(now dull and listless, no longer

cheery red in morning light),

we’ll never know, that treasure

removed within minutes

of penning my name

on the sign-in sheet,

naively swirled

tail regaling

the y.






Cathy A. Kodra writes, edits, and teaches in Knoxville, TN. Her work has appeared in Main Channel Voices, Birmingham Arts Journal, Tar Wolf Review, New Millennium Writings, Roanoke Review, Common Ground Review, The Medulla Review, Still Crazy, Slow Trains, MOTIF, Now & Then, Opium, and others. She is a contributing editor for New Millennium Writings and a member of the Board of Directors of the Knoxville Writers’ Guild. Cathy will serve as guest poetry editor of The Medulla Review in July 2011.
A perfectly healthy sentence, it is true, is extremely rare. For the most part we miss the hue and fragrance of the thought; as if we could be satisfied with the dews of the morning or evening without their colors, or the heavens without their azure. - Henry David Thoreau


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