Massachusetts based poet Robert Carr is the author of Amaranth, published in
2016 by Indolent Books and The Unbuttoned Eye, a full-length collection
forthcoming from 3: A Taos Press. Among other publications his poetry appears
in the Bellevue Literary Review, Crab Orchard Review, The Massachusetts Review,
Rattle and Tar River Poetry. Robert is poetry editor with Indolent Books and an
editor for the anthology, Bodies and Scars, forthcoming from the Ghana Writes
Literary Group. Additional information can be found at robertcarr.org.
In The Gone
After forty years, on the day
I publish the poem about
us naked on a stage,
your sister finds me. Tony,
she sends pictures
of you standing on London
Bridge. Your face, a face
I needed to keep in the
imagination. I did not want
your hollows, skin sloughing.
Disease that is the constant
Big Ben in the background.
Now, I can no longer
have you, like I had you.
You are in the gone, like all
the others. The cocoa
of your body, the sugar
of your teeth, the stigma
of your orchid, all thrown
in my bin stirred with a bitter.
After Our Fight In The Kitchen, I Go to The Koi
Don't try so hard
to take it in,
the hickory bark,
So much time
there is only leaking.
Speak the slang
of squirrel squeak.
Hang upside down,
of doubts in dim
in tandem, leaves
the yard again.
I bend the irrelevant
clapper. No straight
line, between a tongue
and human grief.
dead, the mother's
the scales of neglected
koi that freeze golden
in a marriage ring.
Bone In The Bowl
Quique loves his Mami's mole
chicken. Golden thick like grease
pulled from my ear. He's nearly
emptied a second bowl. Shredded
meat carried across the yard, past
the dried throat of an avocado,
under the shade of pepper trees
that taunt the flies. Front row hens
cluck as he approaches. Chunks of thigh
fill his hand, slick with fat and cayenned
cocoa. Quique opens the wired cage,
feeds chicken to the chickens. Pullets
leap to his corded arm, beaks fill
with leftover father. Through chicken
cages, he calls the great hen—Mami,
want some chicken? I want to be brave
as Quique, to be tearless, as chickens eat each
other in my hand. The meat is gone. The bone,
back in a soup bowl, bare. In the barn, ceiling
cobwebbed, I hear him wash his dirty
hands. Blood is on a knuckle I would drink.
He carries rakes and shovels to the yard.
Clearing brush, winter grasses, bony stems
of last year's goldenrod. What he calls
solidago. In a nest of flattened weed,
he finds four newborn kittens, hours old.
Three are tiger, one wears a tuxedo.
Mama has wandered off to catch
a bird. The newborns mewl,
climb over each other. On Instagram,
shirtless sweat, the gardener posts
their wiggle in a selfie. There are a lot of likes,
his dark pelted chest, is loved.
Two hours later, another pic. Striped
runt in grass, stretched out
like he's running. Text in a blue
bubble says, One guy didn't make it.
Online, the newborn waits to be
buried. The gardener's picked early
flowers, framed the runt in Glory-
of-the-Snow. Strangers respond
Sleep well, kitty, thumb type jagged
two-part hearts. Everywhere, phone
blips go quiet. After shoveling
sadness, he types, Moody, indigo day.
Back to Front.