Four Poems | Katie Farris | Granta

Four Poems

Katie Farris

Why Write Love Poetry in a Burning World

To train myself to find, in the midst of hell
what isn’t hell.

The body, bald, cancerous, but still
beautiful enough to
imagine living the body
washing the body
replacing a loose front
porch step the body chewing
what it takes to keep a body
going –

This scene has a tune
a language I can read a door
I cannot close I stand
within its wedge
a shield.

Why write love poetry in a burning world?
To train myself, in the midst of a burning world
to offer poems of love to a burning world.






On the Morning of the Port Surgery

Before dawn, I walk outside
the clock. I strip and fold
my clothes into a bag, surrender
my braid, I’m wheeled into
the operating theater
for the opening act of what
will become a defining role
of Cancer Patient, Stage 3.

O feather-headed mongrel
my pickled fleabit heart
please keep beating.

Ungraceful, the heart boinks:
drugged, suspended, spiderwebbed –






The Man You Are the Boy You Are

The man you are opens the door
to your anguish, a mirror

of my own – we’ve both grown
silver around the eyes. But in your pocket,

the boy you are brings me a melted
candy bar. You issue commands

like an old man, then take out
my trash like a young boy

with a crush.






If Marriage

If marriage
is a series
of increasing
intimacies, a slow
sweet collapse into
oneness, I
would still beg
your forgiveness
for asking
your assistance
unwinding that pale hair
from my hemorrhoid.


Image © Internet Archive Book Images

Katie Farris

Katie Farris’s work appears in American Poetry Review, The Nation, and Poetry, and has been commissioned by MoMA. Her first book of poems, Standing in the Forest of Being Alive is forthcoming from Alice James Books in 2023. She is also the author of the chapbook A Net to Catch My Body in its Weaving, which won the 2020 Chad Walsh Poetry Award from Beloit Poetry Journal, and boysgirls, a hybrid-form book, as well as co-translator of many books of poetry. Her work has been published in Best New Poets, and she has won several Pushcart Prizes. She teaches at Princeton.

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