Catherine McGuire

Caught Offguard

Have you ever in auto-pilot mode
let yourself drift down the wrong street,
traveling to an old, unerased goal?
As the trance lifts, your gaze picks out
a wayward sign, misplaced stores —
a sudden panic — have they changed the town?
Like a dancer stumbles, a comic flubs,
you lose the thread of motion; freeze.
Then chaos resolves to a familiar gaff —
the chagrin of a school kid lost in
the park — and the wave of relief:
you are an adult; the world does not dissolve
and transform on the whim of some god.
The pebble of doubt sinks again out of sight.

And so it starts – again.
The tiny beds, finely made
and each of you tucked in.
Oh the fear as I cover you!
My tight-chested breath, the prayer
that escapes, despite the scaffold of learning
I gird you with. Seeds!
How you tempt me each year
despite everything – damp-off, mold
the annual heatstroke as the cold frame roasts;
How, after all of this, the damp earth calls
And I yearn deep, and I sow.
Bio: Catherine McGuire has had more than 200 poems published in venues such as: Adagio, FutureCycle, Green Fuse, New Verse News, Nibble, Portland Lights Anthology and Tapjoe. Her chapbook, Palimpsests, was published by Uttered Chaos in 2011. She has two self-published chapbooks. Her website


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