By: Carrie George
Elegy for Lost Time
I’ve been praying for a magnifying glass. An eye that can move in closer. A dictionary or a genie, a lamp that opens to an indiscernible number of rings on an oak tree. The window frame shakes like string. The floor creaks at inopportune steps, and it sounds like a river drained to dirt. Each wail of hardwood is another question. What are you doing with your weight? Where are you placing your hands? I want more than anything to grab hold of something steady. To see into oblivion. To point my gaze at the smallest imaginable atom and know the shape of its mouth. I want to paint each passing second its own budding apricot—its own full tree dropping acorns, berries, baby birds. I want to hold everything in my peripheral close, to never drop a glass again, to never watch a falling. Come here. Walk into my arms. I am larger than a clock, a virus, a dry and empty throat. I am large enough to keep this moment where it is. Large enough to endure the stillness of a flood, a wreckage, a gust of wind dangling our unknowing over the cliff’s edge, pointing our scalps to the ground we wish to never reach.
This Vehicle Makes Wide Right Turns
You don’t know how to negotiate
the space you occupy. The dust
filling your nostril, the blue
plastic bag clasped to the tree.
THANK YOU / COME AGAIN
ringing like chimes with each strike
of wind. A traffic cone rots
into the swampy pit on the side of the road
next to a pile of bricks, a stalled
construction site. You don’t know
what to do at the traffic light
blinking and blinking and blink-
ing like a beacon of breath, of pause,
of hold on a moment and proceed
with caution. The 18-wheeler in front of you
does not stop for anyone.
Black letters on its dusty back read John
3:16. These days, you’ve been looking
for a revolution.
Somewhere to sink your teeth.
A place to lay your head and shoulders
and the music for the song you can’t remember
the words to. For God so loved
the gravity that tethers you to invisible
spinning. The whiplash of morning.
The tired creation of anything at all.
Try loving so hard you fill everything
you’ve ever made with flood.
Try loving with only a set of nails, a dull hammer,
a piece of bloody chalk.
Try loving so hard you flatten a body
with your head tilting so slightly
the way you think is right.
I Play Animal Crossing Until I Can Hug My Friends Again
Someone I love wants to go fishing,
asks me to sit with them out on the pier.
We cast out lines for red snappers, mackerels,
sea bass. Each hour another song plays.
I dangle my feet in the air and sing along.
I watch robins through a window
shaped like a phone screen. I give kisses with pink,
rounded hearts. My email signature is a hug.
It’s so warm. So warm I can’t stand it.
There was a summer with a lake
and a long dock that shook when you stepped
too hard. The wind carried Cameron’s notebook
in its loving hands and dropped it into the muck,
the gentle waves. I wish now
that I was the one who jumped in after it, the diver
on the front lines, the first responder
for the bleeding blue ink and the soggy
paper. I almost feel the stab
of zebra mussels on my feet, wading out
too far into the blue. Water’s soft tongue
holding me against its teeth.
All it takes to reel in a cherry salmon
is the push of a button. Perfect timing. A knack
for knowing the hungry sound of a fish
wanting to break through a glass door.
We’re in this mess until we’re out of it.
Speaking in rectangles and longing for colder
months. Today I am fishing with someone
I love. Tomorrow, a butterfly rattles my shoulder.
Tomorrow, I cast a net over the world
and breathe until the water takes me.
Carrie George is an MFA candidate for poetry at the Northeast Ohio MFA program. She is the graduate fellow at the Wick Poetry Center in Kent, Ohio. As a fellow, Carrie works with visiting writers and teaches poetry workshops throughout the community. Her journalistic background influences her poetry. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming on Poets.org and in journals including Cosmonauts Avenue, The Emerson Review, Gordon Square Review, and The Indianapolis Review.