A tulip blooms on her left arm. She forgets how to answer questions. She lacks the quick response to whether or not she wants water. Thirsty. Water curls her into a worm. The window of occasion causes her heart to beat she feels in the middle of her chest where it is most lonely. Slightly below her heart she is also lonely. Her gut whines with unused blood almost ready to bleed out into her tired silence. It waits for the apples in the refrigerator to become even colder. Her teeth crack and echo from the love of apples and the smaller softer blueberries that remind her of nothing. She lets them roll around in her mouth before she chews then in sight of the box into which they were packed and swallows to think of those birds returning to Capistrano and the street with that same name where she used to live young and listening to the radio outside on her front porch hears herself bloom loud as possible.




Another unanswered question. Somewhere in the world. A map of many streets all in different cities. Not enough to unknow. The woman next door makes that noise with her garbage cans. The early morning truck. The late morning truck. Impossible sleep. Either cold or hot. Unable to identify myself during the photographs of constant unheard noise. My silence within your silence. Where are you? Every morning is another tear to swallow. I drink black coffee and salty ocean water. This island rises out of water. I am entire. No. Apart. Far. Will we get together later? Have you left forever and only the marketplace sells you as an idea a good idea missing a body without the space you left to travel now one traveler gone another lost in the loss. The untied knot. Rope falls to ground rising into dust and the animal wanders away. I’ll go alone and then we’ll go together. As if all that time together never was the proof of grief proving again again again. More clouds. More water. Your empty bowl. I drink.

While Planting Fruit Trees



Where are the unnecessary angels who stand panicked and unbidden? Is it another Sunday with no oranges? Although three bananas lie browning in a blue bowl not anything else but a blue bowl at the moment. The words are dizzy with love and think lake then everything changes as it just did now with a boat appearing and the lost faces of fish and other relatives impressed with their new surroundings. Sudden lake on a kitchen counter? But the sink sits where the memory is of a frog underwater then rising to meditate on a pad until its larynx puffs and warbles as that crow warbles in my backyard that is still my backyard and I own the rising grass.


Real or imagined dahlias at the end of August. Is it still possible to love? The bloom of such a word. Such a thought while standing in the kitchen and looking at a magazine making expensive suggestions. A suggestion about flowers: find a lavender farm on the other side of Mount Hood. Pick a bouquet. Flowers everywhere on front doorknobs come May first remember May Day and the paper baskets that Jill and I filled with flowers from our Berkeley yards and hung on front doors because that was life then and is now if I think of the tender air.


Who opens the door every morning to walk out away from the lake the docked boat a romance and then another? On dry land other flowers bloom the pink wild roses the orange tree but this tree is not on this property but somewhere in Southern California grow intense oranges easy to peel walk outside pick one eat it doesn’t get better than that, although to know that and not move away, not leave the loved, but keep loving the presence, only later as in now I plant a cherry tree a yellow apple an Asian pear to replicate another in this chilly rush of water climate where it will be dry and hot over the next few days so early morning is best. Hear the wings? The pull of wings? Jesus Christ. Amen.

Carol Ellis was born in Detroit, Michigan and lives in Portland, Oregon. She’s been around the academic block with her Ph.D. in English from the University of Iowa. She is the author of two chapbooks: HELLO (Two Plum Press, forthcoming 2018), and I Want A Job (Finishing Line Press, 2014). Her poems and essays are or will be published in anthologies and journals including ZYZZYVA, Comstock Review, The Cincinnati Review, Saranac Review, and Cider Press Review. In 2015, she spent time in Cuba writing a book and giving readings.