Tim Carrier


Karen says, It’s time to have a story-poem now. But I can’t do it.

On the little blue bench under Orion & the big old copper cottonwood, & our backs against the stucco painted to look like mud, I’m only tired.

Here I am in loss, as losing; active loss. It’s a singing bird, small yellow-green, who thru special powers of love breathes without taking breath.

I want to be a person & I don’t know if this feeling is worth it.

So I’ve been trying to immerse myself in a vocabulary that feels familiar.

I’ve been finding myself sitting for like two or three hours sometimes—feeling. This gets to be a problem. I have to say, Stop.

You know the trauma is just what happened, someone keeps saying.

Honey, I say, you still might not understand.

But then…, I start to say to Karen who’s sipping her wine in the star-dark beside me.

But then the Wounded Healer steps forward. It is your hurt that gives you your measure of power to heal, he says.

Orion says, Look, they’re your own little arrows.

Someone has placed a necklace of red thread around my neck. Red thread, light on the knot at the top of my chest.

Ryan is on an airplane looking down at the lights on the nightplain. Karen leaning back against the stucco in the dark. The soft dark hood of my sweatshirt is lighting her face somehow. The moon across her lipstick & its circle on the cigarette.

The first voice says, You’re grateful for the things that brought you pain. The second voice says, You’re telling yourself exactly what you needed to hear. Please, now welcome yourself back.

The third voice, maybe Karen, is kind of humming. Orion is about to say what he wanted. But the voice beside the tree says, But is the language ok?

I say, I think the language is going to be ok. Little soft circle of thread.

He says, That’s good. Then the people will be ok.

TIM CARRIER is from St. Louis and lives in Los Angeles. He earned an MFA at the Institute of American Indian Arts (attending as a white / non-Native student) and is a Lambda Literary Fellow. His poems have appeared in journals including Cordite Poetry Review, Foglifter, Hinchas de Poesía, The Offing, and Poetry Northwest.


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