Catherine Martin

When your dad is the smartest man in the room

Each day, the fuzzy outline of your childhood

invites you to stand in front of yourself


and touch yet another part of your life. 

All you can find are pebbles


rubbed smooth from years 

of his fatherly consideration.


Sometimes, you remember to check 

that question you’d kept hidden from him. 


One day: look! It’s filled with an answer, 

shining red and new as blood. 


Now you’re sturdier with a wisdom 

where longing used to be.


You’re a little closer to the sky.


But wait -- the hand 

holding the answer isn’t yours. 


Older, haired, rough, 

from a time when people built with wood. 


Catherine Martin is a Pushcart Prize-nominated poet. Her work has appeared in Nimrod International Journal of Prose and Poetry, the Superstition Review, 5x5, Drunk in a Midnight Choir and others. A writer living with mental illness, she focuses on how stereotypes of the mentally ill have affected her family and the larger community. These poems are excerpts from her forthcoming manuscript.