Monday 11 November 2019

2 Poems by Carol Barrett

The Waves of Change

are so small, I can’t make

them out, even in space

between my wet face and

the mirror, where you’d think

all would be obvious

as goldfish

swimming in my daughter’s

tank, not yet

plopped in the bowl

as she  prepares

his coming, her treasury

of downed plane and sea

grass, her painting of fruity

fish draped on his back

window like a promise


Nineteen paintings tell me

you are gone -- canvases, and still

unframed watercolors at Goodwill,

Valerie Miner in the lower corner.

You painted a sprig of violets

that hung beside my grandmother’s

bed, yellow centers

nubby as chenille. Remember?

When she died, no one knew

their story.  Too practical

for paintings, she permitted

only your violets in her house.

I once commissioned a golden

Kansas field with farm and outhouse,

thinking it would take her back.

She said the clouds are wrong.

They don’t have clouds like that

in Kansas. I lift your thousand-

petalled mums and asters, step

gingerly in the cool creek

beneath birch and aspen, revel

in your opal and ruby skies.

I will take you home, make room

for how you dreamed the world.


Carol Barrett holds doctorates in both clinical psychology and creative writing. She coordinates the Creative Writing Certificate Program at Union Institute & University, and also teaches in the Creativity Studies program at Saybrook University.  Her books include Calling in the Bones, which won the Snyder Prize from Ashland Poetry Press, Drawing Lessons from Finishing Line Press, and Pansies, a work of creative nonfiction, from Sonder Press. Her poems have appeared in JAMA, Poetry International, Poetry Northwest, The Women’s Review of Books, and many other venues. She lives in Bend, Oregon.

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