Return the bright offerings. Snow
.            shrouds the wretched, the ant-hills. The land grows dank. Covered, approved breast
of field, ochre guillotined by winter. Winds—                         now begging
.                                    galaxies to sew flames into the hearts of sparrows.
I am homesick.
.            The woodstove crackles. Heat pierces and peels
.                                                                                open                             my sorrow.




When I was bearing children,
something occupied
my spaces.
I could look toward myself,
say ah there
a lovable thing.

Waiting now for something else
to grow inside me,
I have taken
to swallowing
for how they fold
up tiny
in layers
like boxed linens.

Little apologies
freckle my skin.
I’m sorry the only way I’ve known
to come, to love.
Hands search for a word
along my contours—
touch scalding at my every
latch, crumpled
clogging my throat.

Our sons cry out in their sleep
as if they needed someone.
I want to crawl into
their dreams
and ask what is it like to need?
Tell me and I could scrawl answers
on my tongue.

Day after day, I wake beside a man.
His arms say stay here
a little longer. I say I had a dream

I was flesh and had a bird,
the bird a prophet
who would not leave me.
Carrie Beyer is a poet and essayist. She holds an MFA in Writing from Pacific University, received a fellowship from the Jack Straw Cultural Center, and has taught creative writing at Seattle University. Her poems have been published in Prairie Schooner, Iron Horse Literary Review and elsewhere. A mother of three school-aged children, Carrie grew up in rural Kansas and now lives near Seattle.