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Robert Carr

Pulp


Toward Rumford, on the way

to ultrasound my pelvis,

I drive the banks of Androscoggin


pass the desperate papermill.

Pulp gas rises in October,

pine trunks, stacked high,


give up growth. In a low-lit

basement level room, I sense

stomach cells splitting. A nurse


named Andy lubes my belly.

This should be warm, they say.

Sliding through, Andy points out


morning coffee, a bubble traveling.

That dark line, that’s an artery.

There’s something unknown


in my bowel. Back home, I stew

in outdoor dusk, a woodfire

burns me warm, my rocker creaks


and soothes. Overnight, my favorite

maple’s dropped buff leaves

and stands, an x-ray of itself,


branches like nerve endings

silhouetted against hemlocks.

There are pleasant outcomes,


the leaves have no regrets.

This tree I love is young, and so

far from the stink of paper.



I Finally Understand What’s Coming


Such a distant sunlit

head, so white.


An osprey throats

a call too sweet a chirp


for raptors. Thin

bands of cloud


dissipate as wings

cup updraft.


The sky bleeds

fingers in a heaven,


blue, diving at the fish

I’ve become.


So cool, so wide-eyed,

without lids.



Carpet Bombing and A Sheltered Life


Wilson’s wheeled to the live-edge table by my husband. A family shifts a seat or two, houseflies dive-bomb Maine blueberry pie. I grab a local loaf, a soft chive cheese, order the German-style hard cider they call Stein at Absolem. The brew arrives in glasses we call sexy. Beside Dad, their patriarch, named Norm, strikes up conversation. He sports an Air Force cap. My father mentions he was in the Army, Air Corp. World… War… II! Norm exclaims, pets his new best buddy’s shoulder. They go on and on about Midwest basic training, how it built strong men, how the Brits couldn’t aim for shit so invented carpet bombing. There’s a big bruise on Norm’s arm. Seems yesterday, he fell in a dried-up brook while cutting his daughter’s blackberry cane. Norm’s a sweet guy, turns to Stephen, asks, So, who are you to these fellas? He replies, We’re married. Wilson’s my father-in-law. Norm swats at a fly and misses, doesn’t skip a beat. Huh! he says, You’re the first ones I’ve met! A pause, like he’s remembered someone – I guess I’ve led a sheltered life.

 

Robert Carr is the author of Amaranth, published by Indolent Books, The Unbuttoned Eye, from 3: A Taos Press and The Heavy of Human Clouds, forthcoming from 3: A Taos Press. Among other publications, his poetry appears in Crab Orchard Review, Lana Turner Journal, the Maine Review, the Massachusetts Review and Shenandoah. He is a Maine-based poet and the recipient of a 2022 artist residency at Monson Arts. Additional information can be found at robertcarr.org






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