The Boiler

Amy Carlberg

[I shall die like a turkey, fat, slow, in an Ontario field,]

I shall die like a cloud, beautiful, white, full of nothingness.”

— Charles Wright, from “Ars Poetica II,” in Appalachia (FSG, 1998)

I shall die like a turkey, fat, slow, in an Ontario field,
without a mate. My eyes shall be black and my neck
shall hang like a loose red curtain. I shall be hunted
stupidly. I shall be plucked and stuffed
with spices, chunks of bread. I shall be brined for three days.
I shall lay in the oven for six hours, I shall be basted,
I shall be done. I shall be carved into parts chosen
as favourites. I shall be shared.

I shall die like laundry, undone, dirty, a nuisance.
I shall die in a pile. I shall die overflowing
a white plastic basket. I shall sediment and crust
together, I shall meld. I shall smell.
I shall be forgotten.

I shall die like a breath. I shall exit
without much notice. I shall content,
comfort, I shall nourish the trees.


[The earth has an upset stomach.]

The earth has an upset stomach.
She batters and bashes our
windows, shakes the door
we use for smoking.
We leech her veins for
precious oils, bleach
her skin for nothing.
Run tests. Shove blunt
needles into her arms.
Mean her no harm.
Really try to recycle.
Bite the bullet as winters
get colder, more irregular.
Seep into Canada
like a friendship.
Mutate into animals
that can survive underground.
Grind our hips to music.
Brush our teeth with palm fronds.
Synch our lips to off-rhythm
tempos, learn to love the silence
computer hum provides.
When we finally learn how
to hide from the storms
that lash our windows,
turn our best blood
to stone and summon us
ever inside, to our
inner ear, we will forget
darkness was ever hurtful,
love ever deceit, a hum
ever anything but distraction.
I wrote this poem the day
the rain tore through the ceiling.

_______________________

Amy Carlberg is an MFA student at Sarah Lawrence College where she is studying writing poetry. She’s from Toronto, Canada, and has been published online in Baldhip Magazine, Cactus Heart Press, and on The Squawk Back. She also recently took part in the Dead Rabbits Reading Series and the Renegade Reading Series in NYC.