Jessie Carty


Muscling Memory

Every time you get in the car
you check the height of your seat,
the mirror placement, try to remember
if this is the way the wheel always feels.
You check even though you
are the only one who drives the car.

Sometimes you get to a destination
and you don’t recall the trip.
This scares you. You treasure
memory. You fear its opposite –
something empty like a newly shaken

You never mastered
the precise combination
of dial turns needed to make
more than stair stepping
blocky letters. If you made an arc
it was a mistake.

Once you tried to open up
the whole board by creating
tight up, down and left, right lines
like you were mowing a plastic yard.

What is revealed are the cross
of two bars and a cone shaped stylus–
very geometric. You feel how basic
you are, centered within rectangles:
the car, the toy, your body.
As if you are waiting for someone–
something–to move.


Stone Letter

–after the movie “Departures”

I want to send you a letter,
but I rarely compose
in stone.

To send you the right
rock I need to know
not only what I want to say,

but how you will take it.
If I pick a heavy brick
will you think I’m angry?

If I choose a shade of pink
will you feel I’m calling you
weak? And what of the arrow’s

story? If the tip breaks
will its message
be off center?

Jessie Carty is the author of seven poetry collections which include the chapbook An Amateur Marriage (Finishing Line, 2012), which was a finalist for the 2011 Robert Watson Prize and her newest full length collection Practicing Disaster which was published by Aldrich Press in 2014. Jessie is a freelance writer, teacher, and editor. She can be found around the web, especially at and in the real world she is probably making cookies because, well, who doesn’t want a cookie?

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