Country of Misshapen Apples

Catherine Bresner

We build our fences tall, here.
From above, our satellites
stare at us like shaming angels,
holding mirrors, sending signals.Headline today read:
150 years old, Arlington Cemetery
is running out of room.They say collect yourselves
among the tall grass.
They say stand here
like scarecrows.
And I am aware
of the futility
of an open suitcase.When asked about this landscape
the answer is in the tilling.
We like the well-made gun
because it outlives us.So into the spacious sky I call out Marco
and the clouds are graywhite ghosts,
while my country lays its body down
like one elegant cadaver.

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Catherine Bresner

Catherine Bresner’s poetry has appeared in The Offing, Heavy Feather Review, Gulf Coast, Poetry Northeast, Passages North, The Pinch, Handsome, and elsewhere. She has worked as the coordinating editor for The Seattle Review and as a publicity assistant for Wave Books. Currently, she is the managing editor for BOAAT Press and the associate production editor for Kirkus Reviews. You can find her work at

“Catherine Bresner’s first collection the empty season is a formally audacious, dexterous, & heart/filled book of bravery & strange. Head-butting the strictures that surround a traditional poem she collapses the collage, the erasure, the illustration, musical notation, the hyperlink, & the high lyric. One piece opens ‘Write, they say, like a band-aid / when writing feels like the wound.’ & these poems perform both functions, the wound & the suture. This is a beautiful book.”
— sam sax

“Beautiful and imagistic, the empty season feels as if it is being written in real time, with is contemporary ear and relevant sorrows. Indeed, this is a book of the times. The strong voice in these poems and poetry comics is innovative, fresh, sincere, and maybe most importantly, has an intelligent curiosity. ‘Today the chore of being alive’ is what I feel when I look at these poems: gorgeous collage, illustration, language—that is the music that keeps me going as a reader. It is delicious to read and see this book in the world.”
—Bianca Stone

“Catherine Bresner brings a freshly savvy vision to the conditions of modern life—to our broken intimacies with others, to our alienation from our own best selves, and to our impaired commitments to civic wholeness. Dark in its whimsy and subversive in its truth-telling, the empty season is full of a kind of Baudelairean spleen, bitter and exuberant at the same time. As one of Bresner’s speakers delcares: ‘How knowledgable can be a euphemism/ for wreckage, as in I will wreck you.’ That’s a fair—and most welcome—warning from a vivid new ironist in our poetry.”
—Rick Barot

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