Teresa Cader

It Happened All the Time
October 9, 2014 Teresa Cader

It Happened All the Time

Kazimierz Czeslaw Cader, 1911-1912,  Buczkowice

 

Daylight shatters through the thatches where a bird might fall,

two days since she boiled eggs, baked black bread, scrubbed potatoes,

the orbit of hands and feet circumferential to her mind’s rutted track,

drawn curtain, its window onto wind-ravaged fields where hay withers,

one breath at a time, questions circle like wolves down from the mountains

to haunt the tattered sheep’s pen, barn stalls overflowing with udders

untouched since morning. Not old enough to talk, the child, his snagged

breath in the blankets like wool in the coats his father wove

at the factory up the road by the bend in the river. Or should I say my grand-

father wove—the child, my uncle no one ever mentioned, because It

happened all the time, as people say now. Everyone was used to it.

Who could grieve really over an empty cradle when it would fill soon?

Hopefully with a boy to weave the cloth, patch the roof, ward off the beasts

who might come as wolves or in two years as Austrian soldiers,

in twenty-seven years as German soldiers, next as Russian soldiers, a boy

who didn’t live to say no, might not have lived through it all anyway.

Teresa Cader is the author of three poetry collections (History of Hurricanes, 2009, and The Paper Wasp, 1999, both published by TriQuarterly Books, Northwestern University Press, and Guests, 1991, Ohio State University Press). Her awards include the Norma Farber First Book Award, The Journal Award in Poetry, the George Bogin Memorial Award, two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, and fellowships from The Bunting Institute at Radcliffe, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the Bread Loaf Writers Conference and the MacDowell Colony. Her poems have appeared in The Atlantic, Slate, Poetry, Harvard Review, Harvard Magazine, AGNI, FIELD, Ploughshares, and other journals. Her poems and prose have been translated into Polish and published in Poland (including “Post”). She is working on a fourth book of poetry and a book of creative nonfiction. She teaches in the low-residency MFA program at Lesley.