Teresa Cader

August 10, 2015 Cader Teresa



You’re wasting time. Your lilac needs pruning. By the shed,

split birch rots, the compost is amuck in rainwater.


Remember your lemon summers, a table set by a stone wall, peaches

in a basket with white napkins. Tart apples and Stilton on plates.


You’ve forgotten how to laugh. Tongue in ear. Toes on thigh.

Where did you put your body, once taut with expectation?


Who could know what would happen. Ice storms out of season.

Winter moth in the trees. Spores rising in blades of grass.


Others picked apple blossoms and put them in a blue vase,

while you filled hand-made journals with complaint.


The stones are tired of hearing your story. Bitter, bitter the crows

pronounce mid-flight. You should hike down to the pond,


late afternoon, now that your legs will carry you. Go ahead: take

your clothes off : your broken body is not special.


Feel the silt slide across hair rising like milkweed.

Feet sinking in mossy sludge, you’ll kick-off from the bottom


as it dissolves beneath you.

Teresa Cader’s fourth poetry collection, AT RISK, was selected by Mark Doty for the 2023 Richard Snyder Memorial Book Prize and will be published by Ashland Poetry Press in October 2024. Her other books include: History of Hurricanes (Northwestern, 2009), selected as a “Must Read” book by the Massachusetts Center for the Book; The Paper Wasp (Northwestern, 1998); and Guests (1990), winner of The Journal/Charles B. Wheeler Prize Poetry Prize and the Norma Farber First Book Award from the Poetry Society of America. 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, and Bread Loaf. Her poems have appeared in The AtlanticSlatePlumePoetryHarvard ReviewOn the SeawallAGNIPloughsharesHarvard Magazine, and many other venues. Her work has been translated into Icelandic and Polish.