Claire Bateman

Claire Bateman's books are: Locals, The Bicycle Slow RaceFriction, At the Funeral of the Ether, Clumsy, Leap, and Coronology. She has been awarded Individual Artist Fellowships from the NEA, the Tennessee Arts Commission, and the Surdna Foundation, as well as two Pushcart Prizes. She is poetry editor of the St. Katherine Review.

One Morning We’ll All Awaken without a Theory

at wooden desks,
our blank composition books
exuding their distinctive freshness.

Not translation
nor transliteration—
heaven forbid
“original work.”

Like the abbots of old,
our first-grade teachers knew:

there is a rest that comes
in copying by hand.

The breath unclenches.
The heart settles quietly into itself.

On the blackboard, swathes of erasure,
backwash of the cloud
that must have passed through
while we were dreaming.

photo by: hellosputnik