"Fortune" by Katherine Soniat

Katherine Soniat

Katherine Soniat

Katherine Soniat’s seventh collection, Bright Stranger, is forthcoming from Louisiana State University Press in spring 2016. The Goodbye Animals, recently received the Turtle Island Quarterly Chapbook Award and will be published by Foothills Press this December. The Poetry Council of North Carolina selected The Swing Girl (LSU Press) as Best Collection of 2011 and A Shared Life won the Iowa Poetry Prize. Work appears in World Poetry Portfolio #60, Saint Katherine Review, Hotel Amerika, storySouth, Prairie Schooner (Waterfusion),and Connotations Press. Previously on the faculty on at Hollins University and Virginia Tech, she teaches in the Great Smokies Writers Program at UNC-Asheville.


In the mine, a man's eyes belong to the panther. Wariness
in a circle of black.
Something with teeth marks him as feline
designed to tunnel for life. An energy with talons straps the lamp
on a poor man's head, then drives him down on an empty belly.

An old surgery, these men who try to cut veins and breathe
air inside a mountain.

Rag-heap-of-flies sits up in the hut, rubs its eyes. It's a boy.
One day his thoughts may catch fire and brighten, until

he wants more
than the family pig at the door,
garbage-slide down to the highway.

Rainbow flags blow from the market stalls stacked with sacks
of coca leaves. Not a ceremonious chew but enough to dull
the hungry belly.
Leaves at the bottom of a cup tell of children
who flicker and go out on the slopes. while the miners go under.