MIT Faculty Newsletter  
Vol. XVII No. 5
May/June 2005
Provost Responds to
Professor Postol's Allegations
International Students and Scholars:
A Legacy for MIT and the U.S.
Lorna Gibson New Chair of the Faculty
Back to the Future
Academic Expectations
Strengthening TA Training
Faculty Mentor Program:
A Growing Success
Advising and Mentoring of Undergraduates
Mission to Banda Aceh:
Excerpts from a Journal
Summer Without Summering;
Slave Huts, Bonaire
The Purpose of Poetry
Survey Says:
Faculty Approve of Updated Lunch Program
Alumni Attitudes and Involvement
Tenure and Promotion
[from the 2004 Faculty Survey]
Have you ever considered leaving MIT? [from the 2004 Faculty Survey]
Printable Version

MIT Poetry

Teresa Cader


Peculiar bird call. Gray-haired man stops
Daily to scan the sycamore. To listen.
Some sort of fungus on the leaves.
Huge squirrel nest in the crook.
Let someone else name the call, the infestation.
In the garden at the verdigris table,
We eat grilled shrimp, swat late afternoon bees.
An inlet of peace as twilight narrows its gaze.
Faces soften in amber shadow.
What I've wanted might be this.

Damp mists blow inland, the evergreens
In the yard still drip last night's rain. Thunder
Lurks over the neighbor's roof. Wicker chair,
Tea, a book. Upstairs, my child belts "Country
Roads," her first mezzo solo. I listen
On the porch, imagining a stage. There is hope
In the world of ordinary change, the song
Opening her throat like a hollow reed.

On Long Beach Island mosquito sirens spiraled
Around our ears in firelight, squads of June bugs
Zapped our faces when the wind shifts broke
Across the dunes. Blues ran in silver streaks.
My father dug his heels into the shore, surf-fished
Between rip tide channels. Night swallowed
Sight, moonless, cold. I sit in the hot tub tonight
Watching stars cascade like fizzled fireworks.
They were God to me on that deserted shore,
A faint display of indifferent light.

We had no pool to swim in, no cabin to rent, no walks
In the forest of Cologne. Mushrooms were our habitat
In Polish Pittsfield, fried straight from the woods, mixed
With seasoned eggs. This summer I'm cooking soups,
Fish in sauce. We grilled scrod on Martha's Vineyard
The summer before my friend killed herself. It fell apart
On the grate, a white hash. I love the riffs of oak leaves
Tonight, wafting in and out of windows. I love the reprieve.


Maker, modeler, bearer, begetter
   In copses of oleander, in cactus shade,

Among squid, flounder, sea cucumber, coral,
   They mar the sea, the white sand.

On a slender shore, mud huts the size
   Of my daughter's playhouse

With doors at waist level and one window
   Housed five African men on the floor

After they harvested salt by hand all day
   In evaporation salt pans, free Saturday nights

To walk barefoot seven hours to Rincon
   In the green hills, then back by Monday.

The obelisks signaled, Drop them off here ,
   As Dutch traders sipped rum on the deck.

Maker, modeler, bearer, begetter
   Four flamingos perch one-legged

In an irrigation ditch, as trade winds
   Lift white wisps from the salt mountains.

A Toyota scurries by to catch the sunset at Pink Beach.
   The company cranes are hauled up for the night.

Maker, modeler, bearer, begetter
   This is who we are, whom you created.

Teresa Cader has received awards and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Bunting Institute at Radcliffe, the Poetry Society of America and the Massachusetts Cultural Council. She taught in the MIT Literature Section in 1998-99 and has published two books of poems, Guests (1991) and The Paper Wasp (1999).

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