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Carrie Bennett is the author of biography of water (Words Works’ Washing Prize, 2004) and A Quiet Winter (dancing girl press, 2012). She received her MFA in poetry from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and MA in English from Florida State University. Her poetry has been published in Boston Review, Caketrain, Denver Quarterly, Horse Less Review, Indiana Review, Interim, and Prose-Poem Project, among many others. She lives in Somerville, Massachussetts and was awarded a Massachusetts Cultural Council Artist Fellowship in 2012. She currently teaches writing seminars on the Harlem Renaissance and Theater at Boston University.

T h e   i m a g i n a r y   a n i m a l s

Before the end is worse than the end until memory returns then what to do with the few pieces left.   I fold the blankets to cover the surfaces I hear moving air the sky a line of orange turning to pink.  The word childhood means something different than the child or saying the child was shy she didn’t talk until she was much older.  I bring the living in until only the sounds of cars can be heard all those people going to live their lives now.  I have feared some unknowable thing for many years I imagined the extraordinary moments that never happened now I place pictures on my fridge a blue butterfly a postcard of a man flying his arms outstretched in a pale sky the outlines of birds surrounding him.

A n o t h e r   s t o r y   I   t e l l   m y s e l f

The fox darted across the road the tip of its tail white then gone and you said at night it comes out and yelps at the house.  Aren’t we all quick ghosts trying to settle ourselves into the night the ground too hard for sleep the body barely tethered to breath.  I forgot the child as I watched the evening light dim only the sound of branches leaves falling wind trickling water your hands folded in your lap there wasn’t a single word that needed to be said.

A t   t h e   e n d   t h e r e   w a s   a   d a r k   n i g h t

I carry the white rock with me and I learn plot doesn’t exist just the retelling of stories but she wouldn’t talk and maybe it’s my fault.  How will I know what to look for the animals will begin to leave what will I do open your mouth and begin to say words what words will I say remember.  I like the quiet house I am the only person here.

O n e   s u m m e r   m a n y   y e a r s   a g o

And now that the messages have stopped I miss them.  You told me it was like a dream how you drove through the smoke around the lamppost.  Or maybe I was never that child.  Who held my hand who gave me fruit who washed my hair who told me stories when memory closes the rooms of my mind tell me another day that you won’t leave.  Someone else took the picture though I am the child I prepare myself when all is calm only the breath only the faint smell of strawberries and the mind reaches for itself and finds now the door is comfort now the wall is love.

T h e   w o r d s   b e c o m e   p h o t o g r a p h s 

Then we remember sledding the iced over hills the snow blowing in our faces I wouldn’t take that away from her even if I wanted to.  What doesn’t become complicated and I read Chekov plays in the middle of the night there are many people I will never know but that doesn’t stop me from looking into their faces.  I liked the way she played the clocks like an instrument how the miniature train ran right through her body there was never a question that it would happen and then one day the grandmother was already gone.

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