Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

“Weaves a Clear Night”

An award-winning poem in seventeen sections by Chapter 16‘s Charlotte Pence

Set in modern-day Appalachia, Charlotte Pence’s new chapbook—Weaves a Clear Night, winner of the 2011 Flying Trout Press Chapbook Prize—recasts the myths surrounding Penelope’s fidelity to Odysseus. Lyrical, meditative, and deeply sensual, the poems follow the emotional isolation of a woman poised between two men, neither of whom can be a part of her daily life. Despite the absence of the lover and the husband, their presence surrounds her.

Weaves a Clear Night: XV

When he returned, my husband began searching
for his favorite pair of yard shoes.
He passed through the kitchen toward the yellow
back door. I stood at the counter,
swiping spilt pepper grounds
into a blue rag.
                He stopped,
wrapped his arms around my waist
from behind.
                Passion is the word for that,
but I don’t know the word for what else it is:
the web being hooked and crossed
in the basement while we sleep above.
                One strand attached to the shiny
bicycle spoke, another attached to the rusted
nail head that juts from the basement post.