Julie Cadwallader Staub lives near Burlington, Vermont. Her poems have been featured on Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac, published in journals, and included in anthologies. She was awarded a Vermont Council on the Arts grant for poetry in 2001. Her poem Reverence was anthologized in Garrison Keillor’s book Good Poems: American Places. Her poem Milk won the 2015 Ruth Stone prize from Hunger Mountain Review, at http://hungermtn.org/news/.
Her first collection of poems, Face to Face, was published by Cascadia Publishing House in June 2010. Read reviews at Amazon.com and add your own! You can purchase Face to Face on either Cascadia’s website or Amazon. In Burlington, VT you can find it at Phoenix Bookstore. Joy and Guinea Pig –along with sixty other poems– are in this collection. You can hear Garrison Keillor read them on The Writer’s Almanac, by clicking on “listen” on the right, under Navigation.
by Julie Cadwallader Staub
This goat kicked me only once,
as if to say she knows
I’m an amateur
but leaning my head
against her rounding flank,
I love the way her need for release
matches my need for her milk,
and I remember the ferocious little mouths
that latched on to me
relieving that overwhelming, dripping pressure of too much
and it was all too much then—
the endless stream of groceries meals
bills illnesses laundry jobs no sleep–
so to sit in the rocking chair was sweet respite,
to do just one thing:
watch the baby
drain the profusion of milk out of me
watch the baby
become so contented that nursing faded into sleep.
Now, this ordinary chore of milking generates
a similar contentment in me
the way her steady animal warmth warms me
the way my hands learn the ancient rhythm
the way the pail rings every time her milk hits it.
And a twinge of astonishment
quickens in me as well–
after you and I labored long and hard,
after we created so much together that is still so good–
how can it be that you didn’t live long enough
to come round to this side
where simple contentment gives birth to joy.
By Julie Cadwallader Staub
I slept from 10 p.m. last night until 8:27 this morning.
Ten hours and twenty-seven minutes.
Yesterday I drove 328 miles to visit my sister in Princeton, N.J.
the home of Albert Einstein
who captured energy, mass and the speed of light
in an elegant equation that every student learns.
Look at us:
we quantify everything we can
in this complex and astonishing world,
from nanoseconds to eons
from millimeters to miles
from basis points to billions.
But no one can measure the velocity of hope,
the way hope hatches
fully fledged–in fact, already flying–
between one word and the next
between one breath and the next.
Neither can we calculate the stain of fear,
the way it infects a childhood
and spreads to a lifetime.
And we can only try to imagine the circumference of compassion
the way it shows us the shape of love
factoring in forgiveness
it invents its own quantum leap,
its own speed of light.