Katy Didden


Katy Didden is the author of The Glacier’s Wake (Pleiades Press, 2013). She graduated from the University of Missouri in 2011 with a PhD in English and Creative Writing, and her poems and essays appear in journals such as Poetry Northwest, Ecotone, Poetry, 32 Poems, and The Kenyon Review. A former Hodder fellow at Princeton University, she is currently an assistant professor at Ball State University.

THE SYCAMORE ON PRAISE                                   

A way to stay put is to feel Earth

tilting—to know its vast surface curves,

that the sky’s brightening is not the sun

flattering you with its attention,

just the speed at which you’re spinning east.

You’re a speck.  You aren’t meant to last.

Seeing death everywhere, you can choose

despair, blunt your roots on rocks, accuse

the cold wind as it lashes your limbs

then train your shape to the synonym

for “whip.” You can rip the sky to skim

water.  Or, you can watch yourself change,

marvel how death mottles you with strange

spots, wrinkles your skin and plumps your veins.

In the shade, you can love what repeats—

branched river and snake tracks in the leaf,

the fruit dangling like suspended suns,

the years’ cycling, the slant-rhymed seasons—

or the heron, like a gray beacon

on the same high limb each afternoon—

our daily habits, hearing a tune 

in thunder, words in the shaking leaves.

Praise the stuttering flow of light off waves.

Praise the linking wind, the sudden rain’s

promise that what was will be again.

Praise lush soil, praise infinite patterns

of which you’re made, to which you will return.