OffCourse Literary Journal

Two Poems, by Catherine Daly.


Check Up


With tiny picks, lamps, and drills,
slowly putting metal in
to my mouth, my dentist

reverses the miner's job.
I am her undiscovered resource.

Then she orders a crown,
indicating worldly achievement.

The crown technician, a sculptor from China,
spends an hour matching my tooth color.
It is yellow, blue, and gray.



A helmet is prudence, wisdom.
Strapping on a headlamp
and peering into my eyes
precisely the way I'd pictured my grandfather, a coal miner,
peering, my optometrist prospects
the back of my eyes.

I see floaters and blood vessels
before she temporarily blinds me.


If It Were Safe Outside

If it were safe, I'd sleep outside or nap there afternoons.
Going out would be less like camping and more like dwelling.
Soon a litter of necessities and niceties would be outside,
maybe under a canopy, for I suppose they could be ruined
by sun or rain.

It would be more like the 70s in the countryside,
some utopian cabin, someone's old hunting shack,
less like living indoors. A pumpkin could happen.
Even city homes would be like cabins in the woods.
There would be more barefoot weather and less glass,
less pavement, more grass.

There would be less of a division between in and out.
It would be a matter of us and weather.
If it were safe to bask
without sunblock.
If we could all walk home.
If we could be alone, at night, outside.

A book of Catherine Daly's poetry, Locket, will be published by Tupelo Press in 2003. Various literary magazines and online journals, including American Letters & Commentary, The Hollins Critic, and Mudlark, have published many of her poems and chapbooks. Her MFA is from Columbia University. She has a software development company.

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