Catherine Arra

Ashokan Eaglets & Dusk

I’d live among you
in these unsullied hills
wing-swirl thermals with cerulean
lavender & late light coral.

I’d prefer perilous nakedness
a wilderness of chance
give way & all to god-sense
surge, soar, lead.

Better to risk the storm
the fall, a thieving hawk
starve by my own neglect
succumb to the better hunter

than to live without sight from above
heart-space a parched basin below

I’d rather die with hunger, that voracious hunger
instinct in my belly.


Like silver dust in fountains of sudden sun & heat
Damselflies shimmer above wet grass
hover alone, in swarms, small gatherings
dawdle with dandelion seeds, helicopter rise & descend
as if with wind, soar on spears of fairy breath, but
oh so intentional, this mating dance
this whimsical right to be.

I watch them commingle, touch
kiss & linger, kiss & spin in whirling eros

starships at warp speed & gone.

Lakeside Condo with View of 8th Hole & Sand Traps


 To rise

with sun
see sandhill cranes commune
feed on the green before canopied carts
& pastel shirts descend, dispersing
all in frantic flutter;

witness grand flight
in pairs, flocks, elegant long necks
wings stretched to purpose
high-pitched, rattling calls
of greetings, joy
the choreographed precision in landing;
serenely slow, supine, they mate for life
in red-capped royalty.

See the lone fishers: great white egrets,
ibis like stars shimmering in electric dawn
old man-shouldered blue heron long-legging the shoreline.

See the alligator named “Swims in Morning”
launch from marsh grass with submarine stealth
glide the distance of a new day.

Every year grand houses & coral rooftops
multiply, swallow scrub & flora
yet wild things adapt
allow, invite us by grace of being to look
up from civilized rush
to not run them down, bloodied feathers
on concrete where once they fed.


 To aim

well, avoid sand traps set on a slant
two oblong trenches like teardrops, designed
to ensnare every boast, proclaimed intention
each practiced swing, competitive chuckle
& then
sand blast a way out; scratchy particles stick to sweat
golf buddies watch, side-glance down
while humiliation is raked smooth.


 To pray

like the anhinga after a day of diving
snorkeling wetlands & waterways
snatching the tastiest catch to feed her young.
At dusk, a lone priestess
perched on a rock, storm drain, fence.
Golden neck snakes upward;
bat-like wings glisten, a velvet cape
flung open to dry in air still warm with sun.

Read the divinations in mink-marble-bronze
upon plumage, her back arched now
heart pressed to amber.

About the Author

Catherine Arra is the author of Slamming & Splitting (Red Ochre Press, 2014), Loving from the Backbone (Flutter Press, 2015) and Tales of Intrigue & Plumage (FutureCycle Press, 2017). A former English and writing teacher, Arra now teaches part-time and facilitates a local writers’ group at the Stone Ridge Library. Find her at

Amazon: Slamming & Splitting

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