By Catherine Wagner Catherine Wagner
In this poem all artifice
is stripped away
but you are held under water.

In this poem you enter a mirrored dressing room
lit so that you look more beautiful than you have ever looked.

I recognize you with surprise.
In this poem you are by yourself.

Catherine Wagner, "Versus" from Nervous Device. Copyright © 2012 by Catherine Wagner.  Reprinted by permission of City Lights Books.

Source: Nervous Device (City Lights Books, 2012)

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Poet Catherine Wagner

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Subjects Living, The Body, The Mind, Arts & Sciences, Philosophy

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Catherine  Wagner


Catherine Wagner’s collections of poems include Nervous Device (2012), My New Job (2009), Macular Hole (2004), Miss America (2001); and a dozen chapbooks, including Imitating (Leafe Press, 2004). She has performed widely in the U.S., England and Ireland; her poems and essays have appeared in Abraham Lincoln, Lana Turner, New American Writing, 1913, How2, Cambridge Literary Review, Soft Targets, Action, Yes, and other magazines. . . .

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SUBJECT Living, The Body, The Mind, Arts & Sciences, Philosophy

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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