The 2River View 23.1 (Fall 2018)

Erin Carlyle

Burn in Reverse

In the mirror of the fire
we watched your father’s house

burn backwards until your childhood
came back and we could smell

fresh paint. Your father sat beside
the child-you younger and tired

from work. Every beer he ever drank
filled up his cup, and all of the dogs

you buried came up from the ground—
skin to fur they lived again. When

the haunt of your mother cast
her pall over the kitchen, we watched

and waited to see you hide in a cabinet,
or behind the sofa—the hair your sister

pulled out of your head put back,
and then when you were finally a baby

we realized that there was something before you
here—a house before its lover,

and your father and mother fell away
back to their own separate selves.

This is Post Apocalypse

You are tender when you say to me:
pull this bone out of my body. I ask

if I keep it will it make me, bone
to bone, like you? You cast me out

with the trash, and I will

get this bone appraised—take it

to pawn. My will feet move one
in front of the other. My head,

as it should be, downcast,
See the bone in my hand, and know

I’m yours. I will get nothing for
my journey—won’t be worth it.

I am on a mission to stick
this bone inside me.

I lay down on the asphalt
Road, and listen to the distant men—

are they yelling my name? I pull
my skin to the side where I want

you, and I whisper a story—
my father was once a tree.

Erin Carlyle is the assistant poetry editor at Mid-American Review and an MFA candidate at Bowling Green State University. Her work has appeared in journals such as Dream Pop Press and Driftwood Press, and she is the author of a chapbook from Dancing Girl Press.

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