14.1 (Fall 2009)   The 2River View AuthorsPoemsPDFMake the MagArchives2River
Bid Detail

Autumn Carter

Prayer for the Smallest

Can I describe how pain blossoms to a flower?
How it wilts and we bury it in a backyard funeral?

Yesterday God confessed to me through the window —
while the baby slept, buried in my arms.

God knows the heavy inner hearts of atoms,
how they sink into flesh, a mass burial of broken bodies.

Yesterday, I missed the train. Stood in a black raincoat,
like a puddle gathering. My feet in boots, buried in black.

When the rain hits a puddle, the atoms say
Does it hurt, darling? as they are buried, each drop.

But what do flowers know of rain as they are buried
in bees? As the sun sucks them in, and they are buried in light?

Things We Find on the Ground

Bones of an old cow
buried in a cocoon of snow
unearthing only in the spring melts.

The surprise snort and spook
of the horse who lays his nose
too near the skull.

White petals on the Autumn Olive,
the impenetrable cloud of their scent,
like gnats hovering in shady places,
mixing with the diesel fumes of the tractor
where it lurches in the field.

An orchard of plum trees
where the black snakes nap in high branches.
We say the snakes rot the fruit —
it falls to the ground unripened.

The gray curves of plum branches
releasing their white carpet of petals,
a veil of children's teeth, or bones.

Autumn Carter is an Appalachian writer currently working on her MFA in creative writing
at Antioch University in Los Angeles. contact