Grace, Revisited

They groom one another in the late hour
of an afternoon, deft tongues addressing

foreheads, noses, cheeks, adjusting for fur
thickness and length, with its grain or against,

their ablutions leisured, deliberate,
miniature quills extended to release

the treasured oils that comb and lubricate,
this covenant to tender and appease

impromptu work. Absorbed in the cadence
of their task, untroubled when I appear

unexpectedly, their acknowledgement
is shifting weight, half-flicker of an ear,

and easeful eyes. They weave a rhythmic lure
of gentle to-and-fro as though beguiled

by ritual and slow silence, secure
in their anointing, the urge to survive

deferred. I have no part in this respite
from the vigils of sleep or kill, predator

and prey, bone-bearing carcasses and birth;
nor with these creatures who intuit prayer.

Christine Casson

Christine Casson

Christine Casson is the author of After the First World, a book of poems. Her work has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies including Agenda (England), Stand (England), The Dalhousie Review, DoubleTake, Natural Bridge, Alabama Literary Review, Fashioned Pleasures (Parallel Press, 2005), Never Before (Four Way Books, 2005), and Conversation Pieces (Everyman's Library, 2007). She has also published critical essays on the work of Leslie Marmon Silko and the poetry of Linda Hogan and Robert Penn Warren. Ms. Casson is currently writing a book of non-fiction that explores the relationship between trauma and memory, and is at work on a study of the poetic sequence entitled Sequence and Time Signature: A Study in Poetic Orchestration.Her second book of poems is forthcoming from Salmon Poetry in 2021. She is Scholar- / Writer-in-Residence at Emerson College.
Christine Casson

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Author: Christine Casson

Christine Casson is the author of After the First World, a book of poems. Her work has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies including Agenda (England), Stand (England), The Dalhousie Review, DoubleTake, Natural Bridge, Alabama Literary Review, Fashioned Pleasures (Parallel Press, 2005), Never Before (Four Way Books, 2005), and Conversation Pieces (Everyman's Library, 2007). She has also published critical essays on the work of Leslie Marmon Silko and the poetry of Linda Hogan and Robert Penn Warren. Ms. Casson is currently writing a book of non-fiction that explores the relationship between trauma and memory, and is at work on a study of the poetic sequence entitled Sequence and Time Signature: A Study in Poetic Orchestration. Her second book of poems is forthcoming from Salmon Poetry in 2021. She is Scholar- / Writer-in-Residence at Emerson College.