Thursday, April 26, 2012

National Poetry Month: Jessie Carty

"Online Cemetery"
(Jessie Carty)

In the photo, your tombstone
looks too new. Clean

and bedecked with a fresh
arrangement of white

carnations. The dates, 1968
to 1970 are ancient

history and I wonder
about the flowers

since your father,
our father, is no

where near your grave.
I had forgotten

your mother, not my
mother, who is still alive

as is a brother (half for me)
that we share. I do

the family math
wondering if your

death precipitated
your parents

divorce. By 1971
your father would marry

my mother. I was born
only five years after

you died. What
would it have been like

to have had an older sister?
Would you have braided

my hair as I liked to do
for my younger sisters?

Or would I have even
ever seen you

since you would have lived
a state away?

Before this picture
of your tombstone online,

the last picture I saw
of you was in your

baby book which my father
sometimes drunkenly

cried over. Your face in all
the pictures was at least

half covered by what I call
a tumor. I don’t know

if that is what killed you. I
only know your name

and that if I had had a daughter
it is the name I wanted

to give my child, the name
of a great grandmother

that, like you,
I never met.

JESSIE CARTY will read this Saturday at the Georgia Center for the Book, along with other poets from the Sibling Rivalry Press of Little Rock, Arkansas. Her writing has appeared in MARGIE, decomP, Connotation Press, Barely South, The Meadowland Review, and elsewhere. She is the author of five poetry collections which include the upcoming chapbook An Amateur Marriage (Finishing Line, 2012) and the full length poetry collection Paper House (Folded Word 2010), At the A&P Meridem, Fat Girl, and What if We Could Morph? She is the founding editor of Referential Magazine and edits Shape of a Box, a YouTube literary magazine. She grew up in "the rinky-dink areas of  northeast NC." About North Carolina barbeque she told an interviewer: There have been whole books written about the BBQ debate, but none about how BBQ relates to poetry. Her blog is "Online Cemetery" appeared in Hamilton Stone Review.

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