Emily Carr

Brass couplets drift across concrete, succumb to shattered simile

relieved only by the bend of her knee, an elbow resting on

tombstone. The wings of her hipbones line up without comment,

her wet fingers spoon salt.

She is Cassiopeia, weeping on a day without Gods.

Her husband is dead; or he has disappeared. He has left no note:

he will be met by no one: there is no one to save him. Sheet

lightning slumbers lightly, ruffles, swells, increases the trees.

She follows; she walks or is carried a long way, across sand dunes

or a river swallowing grass. She was born in July: but now she

feels like January. When she returns, it is from a world after the

end of the world, months later. No one remembers.

Alone & unannounced she is a contraction in the clouds. She turns

her head & cannot see the children in the trees. Down hand over

hand from the moon on a rope.

A woman in black & white in a bare bones kitchen. With a blank

mind she licks her fingers.

Poor driftwood! Poor bird! Rose to bone to air to the shrug

of star. In caesura yes another dumb animal making that final


Emily Carr has published two books of poetry: directions for flying (Furniture Press 2010) and 13 Ways of Happily: Books 1 & 2 (Parlor Press 2011), the latter of which was chosen by Cole Swensen as the winner of the 2009 New Measures Prize. Excerpts from The Weights of Heaven, Emily’s autobiography-in-progress, were published in the Summer 2011 Adaptations Issue of The Western Humanities Review. For a video performance of excerpts from Name Your Bird Without a Gun, visit www.ifshedrawsadoor.com.

“‘nock end (n.)’: maybe the man driving, / smoking & singing / maybe the woman / on the edge of the porch / steeled / fleeing”