Charles Rafferty


The seaweed collects and refuses to disperse—like moths around an August porchlight or the scent of dead racoon. The message in a bottle goes undelivered here. Dead bodies don’t roll ashore. But now I learn the eel I caught in a Pennsylvania creek was born amid this tangle, that it likely was headed back that way after greasing my palms at twilight. I remember looking up, just after, how a jet slid over my portion of the sky like a cluster of noisy planets.

Charles Rafferty’s most recent poetry collections are The Problem With Abundance (Grayson Books, 2019), Something an Atheist Might Bring Up at a Cocktail Party (Mayapple Press, 2018), and The Smoke of Horses (BOA Editions, 2017). His poems and prose have appeared widely, including in The New Yorker, O, The Oprah Magazine, Prairie Schooner, and Ploughshares, among other notable journals. A recipient of numerous awards, including a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, Rafferty directs the MFA program at Albertus Magnus College and teaches at the Westport Writers’ Workshop.

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