12.2 / FALL/WINTER 2017



Last night, I saw a man and wondered what his heart felt.

While one eye sees unreality, one’s rather stuck managing

meals. A cat passed many times. He’s drunk. He’s a child

in the reel—I’m choking. Dear horse, come to me in sleep.

You radical. I saw the white flickering in your eye. You king.

Five days—my husband allows himself no flirtations whereas

I allow a man to give me his seat, swoop down my bottom

in one svelte motion learned from my cat—slide fingertips

on cell keys, everything in my head, thick with snow—

yet the morning brings men with shovels. Inside, the air is warm

and tragic. Yellow casts its pallid rheum. I say stupid things—

shake it off, little chicken, smack-smack. “Tick tock,” he says it

with angry eyes. Petals refuse to drop. I couldn’t cut them—

the white sugar or salt or cocaine falls to the glass. I don’t want

to slip or glide into your day like that. I want to cut a hole

with room for Mother because I’m already panicked about time

and falling off this plank into the taunting water.


Carla Carlson is the author of LOVE AND ORANGES, 2015, Finishing Line Press. She is a member of the board of director for Four Way Books, NYC. Carla will be teaching a poetry class at the Writing Institute and Sarah Lawrence College this fall, and coheads “Submissions Sundays” at the Hudson Valley Writers Center. She and her husband live in Bronxville, NY.

12.2 / FALL/WINTER 2017