A former elementary school teacher, Catherine Coundjeris has also taught writing at Emerson College and ESL writing at Urban College in Boston. Her poetry is published in literary magazines, including, including Proem, The Dawntreader, Visions with Voices, Nine Cloud Journal, Academy of the Heart and Mind, Bombfire, Paper Dragons, Kaleidoscope, North of Oxford, Shift, Halcyon Days, Blue Moon, and Jalmurra. Catherine is very passionate about adult literacy.
She Smells You Coming
You try to catch Nature unaware,
wending up the graveled path,
but clumsy feet will tell on you…
Hold your breath and walk softly
but the red-winged black birds call out and
the blue heron hears and flies away…
Once you saw a great barred owl
loafing on a low, black tree limb
thick with age and winter frost…
Now you peer at it every time you pass by
Knots and crevasses trick your eye.
You know that the owl is there, somewhere looking back at you…
Older now, less sure of foot
you return to your old haunts to find
Nature, unaware, but she smells you coming…
And scatters further into the woods,
melting into the fringe of reeds
swimming out beyond the furthest dock, away from you…
They’re outside the window, watching me.
I can hear their foot falls on the snow.
Their hushed breathing in the night air,
gathered all around the house.
The liquid neon spilling off the T.V. set,
glowing through the shade.
All about me animals from the forest,
clustering in the winter gloom.
Coldness sheltering them
while the cat stretches over my legs.
I plan the day tomorrow,
but the night hastens its own agenda.
I know they can’t get in, but the screen is thin,
and I wonder if wild animals have sentient spirits, too.
If they’re listening to me, making their own assumptions.
Reincarnated souls, living through their second chances…
the clouds cover the moon, and something screeches,
shattering the barrier, testing the uneasy truce that
keeps them out there and me tucked inside.
The Jumping Spiders
Seven little spiders
On the steps of the pool,
diving in and dancing on the surface
and jumping back again
to the safety of the side,
inches from the water’s lip.
Of the family
they dart away from me
and I smile at them
their tenacity and jumping
agility one of Nature’s
quirky lessons I suppose…
if only I could have such
audacity in the face of
I am filled up.
From every cell
Of skin and bone
Sinew and embedded organs
Old and new,
Real and unreal,
Mine and others,
Those I have read.
My own thoughts and ideas
Aspirations and desires.
Oneness with the great outdoors.
What auras are?
A cat’s glossy fur
Artery of life—