Cathy Mellett’s poetry has appeared in Yankee, Calliope, California Quarterly, The Ledge, and more. Her poetry chapbook, Saturday Afternoon in My Kitchen, received first place in Poetry New York’s national poetry chapbook competition. Recent poetry in Nine Muses.

Saturday Afternoon in My Kitchen
Two hummingbirds
spring from the holly bush
outside my window.
First, one. The other follows
as if to make sure I’ve seen
what I’ve seen.
Why are they still here
in the thick of winter.
And how did I go from peeling apples
to putting this pie in the oven,
remembering so much of my life
but none of the steps between.
–Cathy Mellett

(“Saturday Afternoon in My Kitchen” originally appeared in terrain.org.)

How to Make a Feather
First, think of softness
and then small, fragile things.
Think of the stem,
the hard line extending
from one end and tapering
to the other.
Fill the place in between
with shafts of light and dark
and all the hues and aspects of both.
Add color if you will
but splash it on
in unexpected ways.
Think of the song
that goes with this feather
all the songs that came before
and will come after.
Notice how the wind
flows through it
rippling and ruffling,
how when the rain
washes over it,
it springs back.
How none of this changes it.
Think of light again
as in weight not color.
And there you have it.
It is almost yours.
–Cathy Mellett

(“How to Make a Feather” originally appeared in Yankee.)

Two arms held you
over the flowing water.
We saw all of you
screaming and pure.
And when you came up
the glistening water
dripped from your body
recalling your future
and even your past.
Tears, of course,
and laughter
and journeys over water.
Some day, perhaps,
your own water
for the child
who will be yours.

(“Christening” originally appeared in Saturday Afternoon in My Kitchen.)

On the Way to the Rink
Snow is falling
a beach of white sand on the street
she has always known.
With her pink skates slung over her shoulder
and a quarter for hot chocolate in her mitten
she is queen of the world.
She watches the snow and wonders
what it knows about her.
What it knows is this:
all the details of her first kiss,
the number of times she fell,
the precise moment at which
she’ll have to practice the turn
again and again.
It does not know
that this is the last snowfall of the season
or that some day our girl
will stand at her front door
and watch her daughter walk away.
Or that in the watching
she will remember this truant night
and want it back.
More than the candy pink skates.
More than the lessons.

(“On the Way to the Rink” originally appeared in Saturday Afternoon in My Kitchen.”)