Spectral Evidence

By: Carolyn Oliver



Night’s a fig skin bleeding across the sky

and dying mosquitoes fizzle, hot with joy

            when my witch-self strides the crackled fields.


She takes inventory of the nearing winds,

coaxes the crabapple boughs lower,

            blushes their peels to fool the crows.


She can crush quartz between her soft palms,

scatter the dust to raise raw stars,

            or seed the tide with glowing morsels.


She smells morning lipping the mountains,

booms a welcome so loud stunned bats

            stream home, salamanders sprout extra tails.


She can devour any poison this earth tenders—

from a silver hair, a word, from nothing at all

            she can conjure another life, if she wants.


By now she’s gone to confer with the glaciers

and I’m wrapped around my sick-self in bed,

            our sweet reunion delayed again, or always.


Carolyn Oliver color photo by Benjamin Oliver

Carolyn Oliver’s poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in FIELD, Indiana Review, The Shallow Ends, The Greensboro Review, Booth, Glass, Southern Indiana Review, and elsewhere. She is the winner of the Writer’s Block Prize in Poetry. Carolyn lives in Massachusetts with her family. Links to more of her writing can be found at carolynoliver.net.