Published on Academy of American Poets (

A fourteen-line poem on healing

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


Copyright © 2016 by Julie Carr. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on May 12, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“On the first page of the newspaper was a photograph of four policemen beating and arresting a protestor in Istanbul. All five men pictured looked to be between eighteen and twenty-five years old. I wrote this that morning with a friend, whose cancer had returned, also in mind.”
—Julie Carr


Julie Carr

Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Julie Carr was selected by Cole Swensen for the University of Georgia Contemporary Poetry Prize for her debut collection Mead: An Epithalamion.

Date Published: 2016-05-12

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