Two Poems by Vasiliki Katsarou

The Reading

     after a 1976 filmed poetry reading by Jack Gilbert and Linda Gregg

her hair is a curtain
her man worships behind


he is dressed in fatigues


she might be a chain smoker
growing glowing ash
so that a floating star is always before her


he once disintegrated


he put himself together with words
glued to his chest and innards


as he reads, her look of horror and admiration
as she reads, his look of perfect indifference


her laughter dissipates like smoke
but her voice is undertow


The Branch

my mother leans
into the kitchen doorway
dressed in my old clothes

digging and weeding
and now gleefully, she brandishes a question,
a branch–

wayward branch,
she found you jammed
inside the flowering azalea
hard by my front door

how she pulled you,
broken thorny dead thing
from the shrub of flowers
and offered you to me

misbegotten bouquet of dry bark,
and how tickled by my lapse
she stands in wait—

how it mars the face
of the house
I show my neighbors

how the unsightly
has indeed hovered
at my doorstep

and I willfully
blind to its presence
came and went
and never once stopped

to thank her

Vasiliki Katsarou’s poems have appeared in Contemporary American VoicesPoetry DailyNoon: Journal of the Short PoemRegime Journalwicked aliceLiterary MamaWild River Review, as well as a number of anthologies. Her first collection, Memento Tsunami, was published in 2011. She read her work at the 2014 Dodge Poetry Festival, the largest poetry festival in the United States. Her website is

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