Carol's poems Green River Cemetery and The Grief Game were recently published in the Winter 2009 edition of The Kenyon Review.
Green River Cemetary
Grace to be born and live as variously as possible.
— Frank O'Hara's epitaph
O his epitaph is happy —
A small shoal of grace: To be
Born and to live variously —
Unlike her tragic headstone:
Smooth, with another's name
Appended. They lie in Green
River, near where I off & on
Live. Yet dying takes us far &
Variously, as Frank says, his
Tablet lying fiat, like a toy
Shield cast aside, its carved
Words brightening in sun.
Sometimes I come here
With poets who spend time
Among the names, loitering —
As on the page. Waiting
For a phrase, lighting up
A smoke: a touch of white
Space between characters.
All around us are the wild
Plots of artists: painted boulders,
Signed mirrors. But the poets
Kneel down to read: Frank
O'Hara, Jean Stafford. Remember
Each dream you believe is
Yours, you who sometimes bide
On the grounds of Green River.
The Grief Game
Some say that all elegies are mirrors —
But I say I'd rather imagine Catullus
Ranting in his brim-back 9th-inning cap:
That you're never going to feel better
About losing the one person you never
Wanted to lose. Habeas corpus. But face
It. We're all players of the Grief Game,
so ante up! Two dead friends are trumped
by one late spouse (and suicides are wild —
like Dead Man's Hand: take all). Grandma
& Grandpa are low-ball vs. one baby at
birth or old enough to Text ... You begin
to tell your tale of loss and they start in
on theirs: the friend with brain cancer
whom you never liked — how can one
cupped match rival your Eternal Flame?
I knew a widower who cheered at
The news of a plane shrieking out
Of the sky one day after he buried her —
Or the widow who told me she'd
Happily see her dear & sympathetic friends
Slaughtered, if that brought Hubby back.
Tell me, Catullus, on what flat stone
Do we barter for their remains &
Sell out the stakes? We say we'd
Bring them back, one by one, by shiny
Hearse-train or that single black chariot?
Or maybe not at all — if we had to snuff
Our own candles-in-the-wind as collateral?
Nights praying he'd walk through the door,
Shouting Hi, I'm home! But, wait! At the
Cost of you, Indispensable You, face-down
In the pantry, stiff? Life tries to imitate
Art, and art Death — but there's that flat
Stone, in this desert here, where, alone, within a
Heartbeat: we are absolutely nothing to each other.