A Mantra: Four Poems
by Ute Carson
Arts and Letters Magazine
The Wound

I laid our troubles like trophies at your feet,
Roll them over,
Feel the smoothness of a stone,
Finger the gnarls along a branch,
Study the splinters in bones.
You thought they were driftwood
And with the ebbing of the tide
You sent them back to sea.
There I stood, a dam.

With a sigh, a clenched fist, a tear
Each piece slammed into the wall of pain
Until I gathered the fragments in my drenched skirt
And took them home.
I spread the stones, branches and bones
Upon my grassy carpet
And then waited for the sun to do the drying.

- ~ -



In the theatre the lights go down.
And as the curtain lifts I anticipate wonders.
But the brave lion roars in fake fur
And with a good wash the clown's mascara runs off.
Because I feel, you should feel.
Because I need, you should need.
But we stand back to back and glance in different directions.

- ~ -


The Loner

Like a snail you emerge from your house to eat and mate,
Then you retreat again and darkness takes you in.
In winter you fortify your door with calcium spit,
All creature comforts live inside,
And only music echoes through the lone chambers of your heart.

Each year the rings of your house widen,
And the colors change from earthy to golden-beige.
During springtime your feelers search for fresh shoots.
You say, "Hey, I am in here. Stop! Stay!"
But the warm wind whistles past.

- ~ -


No Change

I should know that palm trees don't bear apples
And when I slice the coconut its creamy milk isn't sour-sweet.
But the juice is sticky and weaves a web
Between my fingers, airy and tenacious like ivy.

You walk right through the webbing,
Scraps of spider-lace cling to your face.
If Jesus changed water into wine
Why can't I transform indifference into caring?
Do I sit in judgment? Do I set you up to fail?

- ~ -