Caroline Plasket was a fall 2016 mentee in the AWP Writer to Writer Program and has poems published or forthcoming in Compose, WomenArts Quarterly Journal, The Bookends Review, Qwerty, and The Hollins Critic.
When nineteenth century Japanese fishermen
went to sea they had no way
to record their big catches,
so they painted them in mud and printed
the memory perfectly on paper to take
back and say see what I caught. Look
what I did and it turned into
the Japanese art of Gyotaku
where a fish could be sacrificed;
painted and printed in bright indigoes
and reds. I have met girl after girl;
newlywed women so proud
of their catches. She holds
her ring up like a print on a wall. It is a beautiful
indulgence, but I can’t stop thinking
about the death there.
I carried you on my back, to the store,
so you could buy Mom a present,
and threatened the girl who made
fun of you on the bus,
with things I didn’t know were inside
of me. I learned to
Mary Poppins them back into
the growing bag of myself, for later.
Your blonde hair and messy side
of the room made you different
from me, so much that we
would bend over each other wailing
like dogs on the side of the road,
over nothings—over all
of our dreads realized.
Our togetherness is larger
than the rules that make us
somewhere in the middle
of the beginning and the end.
Sometimes I couldn’t find
space in the endless bag.
When you chose boys who held you
like a thin piece of cloth over a lamp;
you wouldn’t let me pull the plug.
Some nights I held your cool,
clammy hand in mine, between
our beds. It was everything.
They Say True Silence Makes A Person Crazy
The woods bring the balance of sound:
birds in the brush, seeds that fall, and water always moving,
looking for the low places.
The beauty of a phone is that I can brake,
break the noise on my terms. When you say something that makes my
insides drop like a waterfall that pools in my feet.
I read somewhere that Zora Neale Hurston wrote
Their Eyes Were Watching God in seven weeks
and I think about the noise that pushed its way out of her like that;
the same push that is my compass
in the wake of desperation
When we lie down at night it is in bereavement of the day.
I don’t notice the diesel train rattle the walls,
or the engine braking mechanism of some lonely truck.
I hear your heart feed your body. I hear
our syrupy skin in its migration toward sleep;
If you stopped loving me I would hear an intonation that
bottom feeds, before you decided to know it yourself.