Bill Carty

Two Poems

All is Retained Which Has Not Been Surrendered

The night was humid.
You walked to the burn pile
and did nothing. It felt like
the last thing you should do.
No corners out there, by the trees, but smoke
piled against some edge
of the sky. Light warped
in those particles. It was worth
another draft. You burned
rent checks and pink slips.
You gave final notice. It seemed like
the best thing to do with a forest.

Happyish

My wife positions a solar animal repellent
device near the garden. She says,
If you see a cat in the yard, shoot it.
The high pitch of her scheme
steadies in the breeze,
though we’ll hear none of it
if we leave home
in search of a single lemon,
or embark on a journey to capture
the neighbor’s ancient sugar.
Either way we must revise
the ship we sail in.
Celery makes a terrible boat,
though vegetables contain water,
and water its share of air.
The recipe insists a boat
is anything we can breathe
through. Old pliers
rust among the geraniums.
Soon we breathe through them too.
It’s near constant, our breathing,
which is why we horde these
plastic bags, totems to
a change of fortune.
It's our luck in the meantime,
plus this dinner, late
in the Mediterranean style,
that makes this poem a love one,
though return is not explicit,
and the sea is Greek and roiling with rain.

Bill Carty

Bill Carty lives in Seattle and was a 2013-14 Poetry Fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, MA. His chapbook Refugium was published by Alice Blue Books, and his poems have recently appeared (or will soon) in the Boston Review, Iowa Review, Conduit, Poetry Northwest, Pleiades, The Volta, Oversound, Willow Springs, and other journals. He edits book reviews for Poetry Northwest and teaches at the Richard Hugo House.