Ars Poetica

POETRY

By JESSIE CARTY

The girl to my right keeps pushing
up the sleeves of her sweatshirt
and then pulling them back down.

We are 30 minutes into the mandatory
writing test. Topic: Describe a Place.

I trace the shapes others had carved
into the wooden top of my desk. Here’s
an O. A C. An S. C.S. Initials.
Title: My Best Friend’s House.

Christie’s house is a brown single story
that once had a garage. Her parents
converted the space into their master suite.

We would lay on the waterbed which smelled
like a newly unwrapped beach float.

In the dining room, we’d say grace
by crossing ourselves before passing
the bowls of spaghetti and salad. Her mom
always let me bake the garlic bread with cheese.

Each window of the house has a different
set of curtains. In the front yard
there is a swing slung between two skinny pines.

I don’t write how Christie’s cousin pushed the swing
so hard, I fell out and was knocked unconscious.

Or how different the house looks now
that her family has moved to the West Coast.
Rather, I’m describing a present place, something
that is in my here and now.

Outside there that house is a gravel driveway
that feels like the beach at low tide.
I write: The front door is forest green.

Jessie Carty‘s poems and book reviews have appeared in publications such as The Wild Goose Poetry Review, Margie and Main Street Rag. She is the editor of the online literary magazine Shape of a Box.


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