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How to Begin by Catherine Abbey Hodges


Don’t let them have you for the rest of your life, he says. It’ll consume you, trying to fix something that doesn’t want to be fixed. I stare out the window. I know he’s right.

What I know is that I’m often dusting myself off, picking myself up. What I know is that my life is in the weaving, in the patching up. Thread upon thread. Even when the needle breaks, thread upon thread.

What I know is that I’m always beginning. Some part of me thinks it is a weakness.

Oh dear self, what if it’s resistance.

How to Begin
Catherine Abbey Hodges

Wipe the crumbs off the counter.
Find the foxtail in the ear of the old cat.
Work it free. Step into your ribcage.

Feel the draft of your heart’s doors
as they open and close. Hidden latches
cool in your hand.

Hear your marrow keep silence,
your blood sing. Finch-talk
in the bush outside the window.

You’re a small feather, winged seed, wisp
of cotton. Thread yourself
through a hole in the button on the sill.

You’re a strand of dark thread
stitching a word to a river. Then another.

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This poem appeared in Instead of Sadness by Catherine Abbey Hodges, published by Gunpowder Press, 2015. Shared here with profound gratitude.

Read more works by Catherine Abbey HodgesFind books by this poet • Or view my library 

Explore poems in pursuit of: beginningssurvivinghealing • Or browse the index


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Catherine Abbey Hodges and Rob Hodges perform Catherine’s poem, “How to Begin” at the EP Foster Library in Ventura, California on 4 August 2016. This is part of the “Poetry at the Library” series by Askew Poetry Journal.


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How to Begin by Catherine Abbey Hodges


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