Cancer takes his wife before fifty,
the boy who, one June night, tossed clothespins at my window.
At a distance, candles guttering
can look like party lights. The way a ghost ship
might seem from shore.
It may have seemed I was carousing. It may
have hurt you seeing my illuminated
decks, my painted flags livened by wind.
Despair is so immaculate a plague.
A healthy vessel still will float, although
you pillaged all the spirit from its hold.
A ship like that may run aground or wreck
against the cliffs.
Adrift between the quick and the dead,
it is not sorry, does not love or hate—
When They Called My Name at Graduation
Perhaps you cast one final sidelong glance.
Across the lawn I drifted, a buoyancy
that everyone mistook for joy, despite
the chiseled smile of my figurehead,
the stirring of my black and aimless sails.
At the Field’s Edge
I knelt & dug
was there another choice? / I had to
clear these stones these land
mines if / I hoped
to get across
no sharper pace / if I hoped
to ever plant one good
Nicole Caruso Garcia is Assistant Poetry Editor at Able Muse and a Board member at Poetry by the Sea: A Global Conference. Her most recent poems appear or are forthcoming in DIAGRAM, Light, Plume, Rattle, Sonora Review, Spillway, and Tupelo Quarterly, with previous work in Measure, Mezzo Cammin, New Verse News, PANK, The Raintown Review, RHINO, and elsewhere. Visit her at nicolecarusogarcia.com.