A high school English teacher, Katherine Barrett Swett lives in
New York City. She received a PhD in American Literature from
Columbia University. Her poems have been published or are
forthcoming in various journals including, The Lyric, Rattle, Mezzo
, The Raintown Review and The Orchards. Sonnets by her
were finalists for the Nemerov Contest in 2016 and 2017. Her
chapbook, Twenty-one was published by Finishing Line Press (2016).

Burning Village
After Chagall's La Somnambule 1943

The dancer wrings her blue arms
crossing her generous breasts
from the burning village alarms

summon the coming storms
wind whipped the dreamer arrests
the bouquet falls from blue arms

into the windblown flames
just for a minute death rests
between the village alarms

inside her skirt she warms
the moon and a tree who's dressed
in her bosom with blossoming arms

stars circle or insects swarm
and the cow is not impressed
when the village wakes to alarms

the dreamer whose pose suggests
he flies much more than he rests
while the dancer rings her blue arms
and the burning village alarms.

Works on Paper
Based on small 3 x 5 and 4 x 6 collages of paper and paint by the artist Sheila Isham.

1. Shine

Ice silvers gold slices
of bodies swallowed
in the shallows
of color

2. Dull

Sometimes there is no sheen
just clumps of flat paint
lumps of color between
us and behind
and we know nothing
but yellow

3. Grey

It's raining so hard today
that spiders weave drips
from dead flies
and nothing dissolves

4. Touch

This is about texture
and wrinkles
the damp
that comes with the dry
and every shade
of the light

5. Pink

The abandoned surface
of broken capillaries
seen from the sky

6. Fire

Red of the
the fish smashed
on a wet rock
cleaned to the silver sides
the smooth folds
of the emptied flesh
stretched on a wooden stick

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