Born And Dead Prematurely
In The Monstrous Forest
by Richard Carr
Last summer I
thought I found you.
Birds had nested in my ears, but thunder
shook the twigs and feathers loose,
and the rain washed my eyes.
Refreshed, the sun lit up the forest,
and there among the purple turtleheads
and the spotted touch-me-nots,
riding the sharp bee’s wake of undertones,
you were, for a moment, perceptible.
The bee landed on my hand, crawled
upside-down on my fingers,
let go, hovered, and sped away.
Then autumn spilled its leaves;
the deep silence of winter covered the ground;
and in due time spring undertook the long task
of warming your unmarked grave in the woods.
Today I take the long walk under the pine boughs
back into the heart—to the tamarack bog,
to the cottonwoods and box elders
leaning into the morning sun.
A boy or a girl—I never found out.
Maybe now you can be both, or neither,
or something else entirely, less earthly
but more—in the garden of the universe,
more fruitful. Like the bud of a leaf,
an extraordinary new life unknown to science,
a bud never before unfolded, you remain
possibility: open, opening, pure emanation.
And so I walk in these groves,
looking for you everywhere—
finding you everywhere.
from Ink Pot #5, available now
work has appeared in Poetry
East, Exquisite Corpse, and many
little magazines. He teaches in Minneapolis.
2004 Pushcart Prize Nominee