Awake Hour

By Kate Kearns

The trees shift outside the screen. They tap
each other, side by side, like fingers.
The dark moves around and over itself,
wraps every limb for night without a moon.

Warm as breath, the breeze can’t tell
the difference between one tree and another.
Thunder in the distance like a heavy ball
shudders a pulse through all of it.

A cool wind from the west presses
against the sheltering heat. Soon light
will separate each thing from its other.
The living have need of the living.

I focus on your breath to fall asleep –
you are ruining my loneliness.





This is one of the twenty poems in my chapbook,

How to Love an Introvert.

Click here to order.

“From this little book’s opening poem, ‘Genesis,’ in which ‘the word insists upon itself,’ to its closing poem’s imperative, ‘Tell it like the scrape of the match before it’s burned up,’ How to Love an Introvert quietly celebrates the tidal cycles of human grief and resilient joy.   Kate Kearns creates a Maine landscape of human loves–mother, husband, daughter, father, sister—a register made in iambic waves as they touch her shore.”

Janet Sylvester, author of That Mulberry Wine, The Mark of Flesh, and Visitor at the Gate

“I look through those who look through me,” says the transparent speaker of “Window,” one of the twenty clear-eyed and lapidary lyrics in Kate Kearns’s debut chapbook, How to Love an Introvert.   As a lyric poet must, Kearns thinks in images.  She also feels on her pulses the subtlest insinuations between people and nature, from “the hollering sea” to “the curtain [that] moves a little with the draft.”   We recognize a devotion to, and kinship with, Elizabeth Bishop in these poems, made explicit in the superb homage, “Leaving Samambaia.”  But Bishop’s salutary influence undergoes an alchemical change, Kearns bringing her own brand of poignant intimacy to perceptions that are fresh, eccentric, and often beautiful.  And no one can hear the expert free-verse cadences in a poem like “In the Grey” without thinking, this poet’s ear is as fine and refined as her eye.

Steven Cramer, author of Goodbye to the Orchard and Clangings.


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