Katy Didden



(an Awdl Gywydd)

You can’t shake the thought that things
were better before the blast—
the slope gradual, the soil
concealing your knottiness.

Each rude train renews your ire—
a fire branching through your brain—
until you hate the fire more
than the trains, and you blame

yourself. How you wear your scars.
You’re too hard, and you can’t
will your anger away. You’re
stuck on replay till the rant

becomes you (warped leaves, burled root).
You loot the soil. You strangle.
Then mercy schools you: green shoots
spring from the mess you mangled.




The threat of death breathes its heat
on your neck, softens your features,
finally teaches
your youth to you.

The inner light that shone in your face
is snuffed by a rough powder,
by boot scuffs.

Yet compression gives
an age-obscuring gleam—
a startling blue.
Your beauty is now up to you.


KATY DIDDEN has a PhD in English and Creative Writing from the University of Missouri. Her poems appear in many journals, including Ecotone, The Kenyon Review, Smartish Pace, Bat City Review, and Poetry. Her first book, The Glacier’s Wake, won the Lena Miles Wever Todd prize from Pleiades Press, and will be published in April 2013. She is currently a post-doctoral fellow at St. Louis University.


Read more work by Katy Didden:

Poem in Verse Daily
Two poems in Poetry Magazine
Poem in Kenyon Review