A fourteen-line poem on healing

Julie Carr

1. I cannot freeze sound
2. or collapse phantom scaffolding
3. I open one contradiction
4. after another. They call this “erotic intelligence”
5. or emptiness
6. They abuse the powdery line
7. at once blessed and beautiful
8. and blank
9. as benign limbs
10. Where have you gone in your red dress?
11. You have done nothing wrong and you are not condemned
12. Naked as a word
13. the body’s modifications, no matter how infinitesimal
14. are all that is given

More by Julie Carr

House/Boat

So we shoveled it. Climbed over it. When a boy's loved 
he is loved. We kissed him at the countdown

then we went to bed. 
Then I woke and on the screen 

an executioner 
whose wife for him 

was worried. Both on and off the screen

there was still a lot of snow. I went out and stuck my hand in it, 
felt around for a handle. None.

So I picked myself up and walked to the bank. Does it seem 
I am alone? No, not alone. The wind was a friend. Dying and down. 

I bent over,

I listened to the flow. Home, yes, but leaving. Home, sure, fine, but, 
where's the bathroom? Where's the light? Anyway, 

the soft swell said, lisping its S’s, Anyway, 
if you're at home here, you're a guest.  So I bowed. I said 

I'm sorry if I bore you. Broad, 
the river belled in a thud of sun. 

I climbed aboard, I rowed. A border flew open like a cough. 
I leaned back to balance 

my heavy brown oars as they dipped
to green and red furrows of light between water mounds. 

My boat rocked, steady, un-steady. 
Was I welcomed? It seemed I was as I gripped 

and privately beheld. 

The night soon lost its head. I said,
I'm here. Pulling up now,

parking, looking 
for something to eat, to redeem. 

The wind shook the seedpod but the seedpod 
wasn't moved. 

And though I thought I'd done the damage I was born for, 

there was still so much to step through, 
so much to mar.

Think Tank [excerpts]

*



First: The blinding of the citizens

Second: The common plague of worms

(like lute strings, they must be plucked and the wounds spread with fresh butter)

Then: 


This amorousness



*



Old woman cried and was fed her peas—

a worm in mud finding its way around my roots—

or deeply asleep and thus resistant to being read as a morally triumphant being,

she buries her mirror

The sermon says, "there is no you, so no way for you to fail or fall"

In Normandy we bought fish and cake

and the children rode the carousel

These are the dreams we return to:

bread in the sun, oil in the water 

glass in the foot

Blood modifies blood



*



"Let me be my own fool," sitting on the newspaper 

perchance in love with an embryonic heart

prepared to beat 2.5 billion times, and that's all



*



Nothing betray us


But I love the moment when the boy looks down at a homeless man's shoe 

and imagines traveling to the center of the earth, hanging on the shoelace like a rope

A fourteen-line poem on Adoration


        1. It does not take much

        2. Half an hour here, half an hour there

        3. It’s not a “presence” I adore

        4. The erotically swollen moon

        5. Let me go, friends, companions

        6. The soldier watches his kid in a play

        7. He seems nothing less or more than “foreigner”

        8. Grass. Dirt.

        9. The bottle broke and all the women gathered shards

        10. The effect was of inflation

        11. There was only one alive moment in the day

        12. Either I loved myself or I loved you

        13. Just like a mother to say that

        14. “Do you become very much?” she wrote

Related Poems

Quilts

(for Sally Sellers)

Like a fading piece of cloth
I am a failure

No longer do I cover tables filled with food and laughter
My seams are frayed my hems falling my strength no longer able
To hold the hot and cold

I wish for those first days
When just woven I could keep water
From seeping through
Repelled stains with the tightness of my weave
Dazzled the sunlight with my 
Reflection

I grow old though pleased with my memories
The tasks I can no longer complete
Are balanced by the love of the tasks gone past

I offer no apology only
this plea: 

When I am frayed and strained and drizzle at the end
Please someone cut a square and put me in a quilt
That I might keep some child warm

And some old person with no one else to talk to
Will hear my whispers

And cuddle
near