small mammals Coming Soon!
If you follow me on social media, you have probably seen some version of the image below. I'm am happy to announce that my fourth full-length poetry collection is forthcoming from Mayapple Press. It is perhaps my most vulnerable collection to date. It is going to press as I write this, and I would be glad to be able to send you a signed copy or even two.
I will be announcing some launch events soon, including in-person as well as virtual. If you're on this list, it's because you have been supportive of me and my work in the past and I am reasonably confident you won't hate me forever for sending you this email. However, if you'd rather not receive future emails for any reason, drop me a quick note and I'll remove you. No offense will be taken.
Sample poem and description plus book cover below.
In Cati Porter’s fourth collection of poetry, small mammals, maternal love is extended to an assemblage of creatures big and small, with a focus on those most misunderstood of mammals, the human teenager. Everyday encounters become sublime: a conversation with a Rite Aid drugstore clerk, watching a documentary about ants with her son, a Sunday drive to look for wild burros. With equal parts curiosity and concern, small mammals takes an up close and personal look at the complexities of mothering teenage boys. It is the “What to Expect…” book you didn’t know you needed, bearing witness to what it means to be tender, vulnerable, and alive.
What to Expect: The Teen-Age Years
A distant echo, like fruit belched up from breakfast,
I remember how it felt to house your body in my body,
how it knobbed up to meet the palm of my hand,
how every gas bubble even before you could
was a kick. Then, you grew. Plop, you fell out of me
like a menarche clump of red cells except you
were pink and frail and required oxygen.
Then, suddenly, you were pushing up to standing,
then walking, running, playing Matchbox cars,
and now here you are, only a toddler, with your own
car and license and my time is my own again
and I don’t know what to do with it.
There was nothing to prepare me for this.
I read The Baby Book until the spine cracked
and pages leaked out like my nipples oozing milk
whenever you cried. I read What to Expect When...
each stage a fresh new hell, except, once you hit
puberty, there were no guidebooks to tell me
how to teach you to drive, how not to wind up in the ER
after a drinking binge, or how to make you love
poetry, or me. That book doesn’t exist, but I imagine
if it did it might begin with a chapter or two on mourning
who you’ll never be, and accepting that.
Forget college. Forget the golf scholarships.
Never mind that homework. I forgive you for giving up
on me not giving up on you. Instead, I give you
the freedom to fail, and my unwavering love
as I watch you clamor at the guardrails,
pulling yourself back up, up, and then off again,
while I sit here barely daring to sip my glass of wine,
phone beside me, volume high, waiting, waiting.