Before Sleep

Before Sleep

I was in love with anatomy
the symmetry of my body
poised for flight,
the heights it would take
over parents, lovers, a keen
riding over truth and detail.
I thought growing up would be
this rising from everything
old and earthly,
not these faltering steps out the door
every day, then back again.

by Catherine Anderson (1954 born)


Catherine Anderson (b. 1954) was born in Detroit, Michigan, and is the author of In the Mother Tongue (1983), a book of poems published by Alice James Books of Cambridge, Massachusetts. She was the Cornelia Ward Fellow for Poetry at Syracuse University in 1976, where she received an M.A. in English and creative writing in 1979. Anderson has published in many journals, including The American Voice, The Antioch Review, and The Harvard Review.

Catherine Anderson now lives in Kansas City where she works with the region’s growing immigrant and refugee communities. Her poem “Womanhood” from The Work of Hands (2000) was chosen by Billy Collins for “Poetry 180,” a project to promote poetry in public schools across the country every day of the school year.

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