Teresa Cader

It Happened All the Time
October 9, 2014 Cader Teresa

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’s poetry collections include History of Hurricanes (2009), selected as a “Must Read” book by the Massachusetts Center for the Book, The Paper Wasp (1999), and Guests (1991), winner of The Journal/Charles B. Wheeler Prize and the Norma Farber First Book Award. She has been awarded two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and multiple honors and fellowships from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the Bunting Institute at Radcliffe, MacDowell, the Poetry Society of America, and Bread Loaf. Her poems have appeared in The Atlantic, Slate, Plume, Poetry, Harvard Review, On the Seawall, AGNI, Ploughshares, Harvard Magazine, and many other venues. Her work has been translated into Icelandic and Polish. She holds degrees from Wilson College, the University of Wisconsin, and Harvard University.