Catharine Otto

I Am

I am that barbed mental arrow
of anguish,
drawn tight
against the tension of the bow--
of the bow I made of myself.

I feel such suspended tension in the bow,
such tension in the bow,
and I ache for the release,
the chance to be let go.

To be flung
far and high--
to fly!--
to seek, to strike, my target
with all my might;
to flee the tension,
the tension of the bow.



When I am with you,
periwinkle kisses,
a shade of passion as soft as petals,
shower down on me, nearly making me swoon…
They say shades of purple are the only hues
the unborn child can see through the womb;
Its comfortable oblivion
Is from the passion that has been,
And is perhaps all we seek
In the passion that will be.


Deep calm.
Rain calm.
I feel so calm—like rain.
I feel no pain---
Muted by this veil of rain
Inside me—
Rain of tears,
Numbly purging
All my pain.

Remaining calm,
Deep calm,
Like rain.


My father’s parents’ house is silent, but not free peace.
A thick, hunter green carpet lies,
always vacuumed to perfection.
On it stand elegantly curved legs
of elegantly carved tables;
staid and stable stand these legs
and the legs of the chairs—
upholstered to round, soft looking shapes
that are yet hard and unyielding, like rigid muscles.
But these muscles are aging saffron
and need buttons to hold them together.

The living room is the epitome of the home.
Statuettes of porcelain birds, roses, and saccharine
little vases are moved from time to time
from one end table to another.

But one ornament always stays in the center
of the room--the coffee table’s prize.
It is a domed, sealed glass bulb, full of dried,
faded yellow flowers, with a butterfly
ever alighting
on a shriveled petal.


Copyright © 2012 Catharine Otto

Catharine Otto is a poet, holistic healing professional, classically trained soprano and visual artist. Her poems have appeared in the former NeoVictorian/Cochlea, in Decanto, in which she is a regular contributor, and in University of Maryland’s The Constellation, with upcoming poems to be published in Avocet and Decanto. An article on the healing art of Usui Reiki, of which Catharine is a Master Teacher, is scheduled to appear in the next issue of Today’s Spiritual Woman, an American e-zine. She also has performed in operas and had artwork exhibited in Tyme Gallery in Pennsylvania. Catharine has a BA in English Literature and is a member of American Mensa; she plans on pursuing post graduate studies in psychology next year, with the ultimate goal of a new, complementary career in clinical psychology.