Selection of poems

Selection of poems

Dara Carr is a third-year student at the University of King’s College and Dalhousie pursuing a combined honours in Contemporary Studies and Classics. Her interests include literary modernism, listening to The Strokes, and playing on the King’s women’s rugby team.


cold cold cold
are you cold
no i am
no i
(fingers, ice)

i could walk these streets for hours,
i could step on ants
or lift them to the stars
i could draw maps with cement
or soil
i could sail east for the winter,
run my hands through golden hair
have my fingers come up red
and shaking,
wash them clean in charcoal
and continue, tucked back in pockets to stay safe

i could dream of an ochre field

(are you cold?
in which my son would come to me
and looking on,

i could boil ginger tea
to capture steam,
save it for empty sails
press flowers into pages
or leaves
stand on my mother’s old street
and cry
come back to an empty house
full of candles

(it has been too bright,
too bright here for a century)

i could burn it all one day
and gather embers
and sail east
and eat cold Chinese food
and chocolate cupcakes
with pale pink icing
and forget the cold
and stand in the ocean
and, calves aching,
(do you understand?
are you cold?
no i


the bells chime once, and now again,
i sense orange leaves,
deep green and cutting
chandeliers of frozen drops
that melt under our tongues
as the bells ring in my molars

i am not myself in any following moment
or any moment past
i cannot know her
so i watch from the window
tiptoeing in the street
buying the paper with tarnished nickels
crosswords pasted like wallpaper,
the flat blue sky on the Piazza
words whispered around grey statues,
light soil under summer fingers

i think she is forgotten there
scrubbing lemons and the washing
pleading with the birch bark and cobblestones
three mouthfuls of rubies for a few more days,
no more nights on shaded sofas,
purple twilights that fade into another,
digging question marks into pie crusts
following tire treads through gardens

i write a letter,
please send more lanterns
please ask for more cigarette smoke
but no cigarettes,
only lovers seen through hazy glass,
only love spoken in mumbled traces
under the old brass church bell
and ask, ask her for oranges
ask her to write orange in her crossword
and not to bake scones
and not to spill flour
and to lean over the pond in the Piazza
find me in the dark blue water
no: find me in the water,
dark blue


i feel like my mother’s child
like this city’s child, wrapped in spring
street names engraved on the back of my teeth
reincarnation, tired paint chipping off wooden panels

i feel like trying four pens,
all of them empty
tossed back in the bag one after another,
no soldiers left behind
(i feel like plastic army men lined up on my brother’s window)

i feel like magnet poetry on the fridge
white fading into white
haphazardly arranged by friends, by acquaintances,
by strangers at kitchen parties
arranged by: Myself
then swept away again by an errant arm
or trickling eyes
or unsure fingers

i feel like rain on the roof of my new apartment,
the weepy joy of a child
of goodbyes more sweet than bitter,
and moments of eclipse that go unnoticed
of unpacking boxes,
of “home” settling
somewhere underneath your ribs

i feel like small, forgotten bruises
i feel like the pale blue March sky,
(although its April now, or May)
i feel like my mother’s child,
i feel like no one’s child
i feel like crying
i feel like small roman numerals, lowercase

i feel like i might emerge through glassless windows,
slip over scorched pavement
between the awakened
with collapsed veins, yes,
but lighter steps, lighter steps.


light feet trudge
a thousand storms
and when budding flowers swarm the streets
i walk with a limp that only i can see

dark marble eyes glance
through winding, tangled vines
through branches once bare,
now full and heavy with glances,
now saturated in garnet views,
like languid worship whispered to skin,
watch red spring rust, bitter and luscious
trickle of promises
drips on ghostly ground

i shrink from June, July
at once so full with pauses
soaked in departing,
vacancies that will remain under finger nails,
wedged in the cracks between floorboards
i think instead of winter air which awakens,
pink cheeks that breathe into pages,
pages which breathe back.

sleep is more forgiving then,
a deep abyss
but here it evades,
lingers long after it should have fled,
here it does not obey bruised-kneed pleaders,
here it does not relieve
(each moment echoes through caves
stalagmites hold wincing bats aloft)

eyelids droop like boughs of willow trees
in thick air that tastes of ocean
we walk and dance in circles,
spirals wound like ribbon
as if making small presents to open later
but everything blurs,
i want my face back
my veins steep in these months
making tea of dried echoes,
we turn in circles and float down steep streets,
we leave saucers floating like water-lilies in the pond.


silence has claimed me
descending from skylights
it’s this: writing and rewriting
it’s this: writing it as it occurs
it’s this: how does that differ from writing yourself into
it’s this: are you at fault
for your own ink-stained fingers?

a confession: sun-burnt thighs
descending from cotton cages
a confession: my great-grandfather built that church
on the corner
that purple house we walked past in autumn
i took a picture of you on the steps.
a confession:
skin that rings with salt
headaches and cool air on the back of necks

a confession: blinking eyes
it’s this: guilt lives in your eyelashes
in letters, crisp in leaf-like pockets
it’s this: nails dig deep channels
without breaching soil
we pass each-other palm to palm
cheek to cheek, eyes averted
it’s this: grass on the arches of bare feet,
knocking elbows on walls
in small rooms,
on each-other in glass boxes

it’s this:
unforgiving questions
formed with imagined fingers,
there is a song we sing
to keep our hearts beating
while we think ourselves abandoned
clinging to granite that shivers under our touch

it’s this: we fit ourselves into windows
we stand in front of windows
we walk through empty bookshelves
it’s this: i read the New Yorker
in my green knit sweater with the blue cuffs
and peered over the aisles
looking (but not looking) for you


we write backwards now,
pages left empty, ink-stained echoes leaking through
from bottom to top:
soft grey forests concealed under checkered coats
which lay thrown into corners
torn off sun-browned backs
muscles wired and twisted into homesick chord

purple-hued coastlines float,
remind me i have not bathed yet this year
in the dark rivers of my home
have not yet been reborn under tall red cliffs
have not yet washed your fingers from my skin,
small bruises along my spine
where vacant eyes lingered long ago

peeking through bluebells
fallen stars emerged
hearts that blinded us
and shaking, we ate them whole
consumed in burns from the inside
grasping onto green leaves
that was the mid-summer
that was the dream we wished for
that we swam for through violent air
through sparkling gardens
existing only in the haunted twilight of early August
only in silence,
a ghost town of abandoned castles

we pluck olives from cracking branches
and feed them blindly to each-other
ducking through moments hung on washing lines,
skipping stones over still ponds
their surfaces overtaken by crawling vines
we make mosaics of dried orange slices

i hung flowers in my bedroom,
sent them in letters
trying to call you all back to me
or to here,
hoping to awaken sleeping spirits
to light fallen fires with dying embers

i weave brambles into walls,
construct new partitions, floor littered with torn denim
salt water buoys us
refusing to let us sink
and so i float in place,
dodging sailboats, searching the sky for seagulls
or other signs of life through the canopy


words mean nothing and they’re all we have
choose wisely
i hover in the space
between sleeping and existing

I look down and see ophelia,
medusa, antigone beckoning
a watery grave might not hurt that badly
Don’t Want Poseidon Getting A Big Head okay, look up

text me. call. email. postcards. carrier pigeon. just yell.
i clink my glass on the webcam
what would it feel like to freeze to death
to say: I Miss You Like A Child

I sing in the space under my skull
air hums in my eardrums
i wave from the rooftop
a silence i cannot locate
open your eyes

kafka hails from a rowboat
repeats dreams i didn’t know i dreamed
i send another email
hello? The Nothing means Nothing means

the bookstore on the corner with the brown paper bags
closed while i was gone
tree branches look like skeletons
i wrote a poem when i was small
and lost it on the playground
sedentary, it dissolves
Dissolve Me


late notes linger, shake in ears,
shake fingers sitting on the ruined table,
shake fists at water-logged streets
one path only through crashing oaks:
streetlamp’s glow doesn’t reach here

scribbled over eyelashes
heavy with dust
pressed up against telephones too long,
a booth on every corner
we listen, eyes closed, to last night’s anger
last month’s mourning
last year’s promise
Hang up.

Angel’s calling—
she looked at me outside the party
Cut Your Split Ends
far above the stars,
far below the soil
Forgot To Turn The Kettle Off
open your palms, stumble home
I wanna be your Mantra
I wanna be your Eyesight
Hang up.

we stacked books on paper walls
we tiptoed cliffs with certain small reliefs
we traded pennies into sacred palms
we asked for secrets in return;
return to houses, return to rooms
with closing doors
with windows far less open than before
Hey, The Stove Is On
we press hot backs onto hotter stone
The Smoke Is Getting Out
we break down chimneys
The Fire Alarm Is Ringing
it’s for you
Hang Up.

did you hear the one about the goddess?
did you hear the one about the angel?
did you hear the one about the whore?
did you?


i told you by the river
skipping thankless sinking stones
let’s go away from here
I Wanna Be Your Mantra
Hang up.

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