“Banished From Flowers” by Robert Carr

Reading by the author

1. I’ve lived contained by pestilence, yet, bees move through my pelvis, honey-combed. In solitude, blood reverses course, artery becomes vein.

2. The essentials of survival grow in dirt beneath my nails: sacrificial radish, curled tendrils of slicing cuke. (Have you searched compost in your loneliness?)

3. Under an outdoor shower, no one near, it’s kind of sexy when my fingers slide through unprotected knuckle. I’ve made peace with swelling. My rings, only removed when soaped.

4. On limpid days I punch knots out the pine boards of my apiary. Blurred by swarms, cerebral desire to be stung. With each day, reasons to wear clothes fall away.

5. Body: you’re my tallest drink of nectar. I’ll oil you down, drink chlorine from cock – vitality bleached, your sweat has let me know you’re also frightened.

6. I sort splinters from a crate of memorabilia. Breath droplets fall like promises from a mouth. Box cutters and buzz killers haunt in my containment.

Robert Carr is the author of Amaranth, published in 2016 by Indolent Books, and The Unbuttoned Eye, a full-length 2019 collection from 3: A Taos Press. Among other publications, his poetry appears in The American Journal of Poetry, Crab Orchard Review, Lana Turner, and Shenandoah. He is the recipient of a 2022 artist residency at Monson Arts, sponsored by the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance, and lives in Maine with his husband Stephen. Additional information can be found at robertcarr.org

Image: “Encaustic Cosmic Bio-Film Reflux Syndrome 02by Bill Cawley

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