Bio Note: I write poetry, edit fiction, play the banjo, teach ESL online, and make my husband laugh in Tampa, Florida. It’s knitting season now, so I obsessively look at yarn on the internet too. My poems have appeared in numerous publications, including Tar River Poetry and New Ohio Review. My first collection, Notes from the Girl Cave, was recently published by Kelsay Books.
Monday morning you woke up and backed into a bad mood while moving your sedan from the bank parking lot to an empty space across the street. You slipped on pre-dawn ice; then the car stalled. Twice. Despite below-zero temperatures you overheated from punching the dashboard till a teller wrapped in jumper cables rapped on the window and rescued you. Back home, burned-out, you pulled into bed, while I drank espresso in the kitchen, idling high, planning my getaway.
Originally published in The Binnacle, 2014
Daffodils in February
On leap day came rain and mud and swaths of daffodils on the forest floor. Long before the season of languid heat set in to grease my shoulders with sweat, I ran before dawn like a night-horse, darkness erasing my weight and gravity. I flew to road’s end and over the black ribbon of trodden dirt leading down to the river. Thirty-some-odd years ago, suspended in the sky, I said, Remember this moment, and even saying that, leapt beyond the moment to my now-self remembering. I told myself, This morning is perfect, but in thus speaking had to nullify a hundred numb teenage nights recorded in a journal. I crinkle the page. Empirical memory, graceless and hard-shelled, crumples into ecstatic flight. My quick breath fills the pockets between footfalls. I dash through the yellow-spangled ground cover to the log that spans the water and cross over at a canter, aware that I could easily tumble, knowing that I won’t.
Originally published in Poetry Quarterly, 2013
The mouse in our house is a rat, lugging stale pita across the floor like a shield, slipping inside the stove all scramble and scratch, ignoring our Havahart trap. She’s a cookie-crumb snatcher, a crack-of-dawn raider, a mad-rodent hausfrau, a twisted bedmaker who turns art to confetti and scatters scat in fabric, that shred-happy ghost of nested futures sent to gnaw our drywall to dust.
Originally published in Shark Reef, 2018
©2021 Sarah Carleton
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