Carrie Olivia Adams


Notes toward its beginning

I. What will remain
      A. dust of the luna moth
      B. carpet bunnies
            1. that clung to a pant leg, a cardigan sleeve
      C. brown hair
            1. on the window sill
      D. a furniture footprint
      E. the smell of quiet

II. To move
      A. the inverted tongue
            1. laid out between dictionary pages
      B. the question asked by one hand of an other

III. Things unlikely to fit through the door
      A. yesterday's
            1. light split by blinds
            2. pink glow of new skin
      B. the voice
            1. of an offer
                  a. of the something else

IV. To pack
      A. rose
            1. flattened
      B. the inside of a pearl
      C. twine

V. Forgotten Things


The Body

Surreal does not mean too real. It is the real that we cannot hold, cannot see. Without plucking our eyes.

Brown paper lines the thoughts of pearl. And I wrap glass with the black and white etchings of faces and names, smudged to the tips of my fingers, streaking themselves along the cheek.

And, I would rip my heart out for them, those faces and names. Give it in pieces. And hope that I could grow a new one by the time I needed it again. To give away.

If there can be a footnote to absence, it is the beating heart. You must trust me this time.

I never said it, did I? I never told you. Or did you just pretend not to know for my sake? Or for yours? I will tell you that if you think it is true, it is.

I think the boxes must be real. Though they bend when I watch them too much. In them, I have swathed and placed you, in moments. I am tying them, twine unravels to the door. You would place petals in my mouth as it opens.


Works Cited

Silent Dictionary, Parchment That Knows the Tongue

Luna Moth, A Short Short

Thread Sound, What Is Beneath

Known Notknown, The Look When He's Not Looking

Index Finger, Chasing the Jaw-Line

Sundays, When the Week Is Spent

Woman Who Re-reads Your Letters, Memoir of a Scab Picker

Boxed Parrot, Green Under Closed Lids

Tulips That Would Be on the Table, The Inside Before Unfurling



Omissions Revisions

Not flame
Not smoke
A red scarf only.

I should have said he instead of you.

If dust,
then envelopes.

The rope became twine became string became the aftermath of absence only.

Hands ask what eyes can't. They lead the leaving.

Then boxes,
if keeping for myself.

Not giving away.
Not asking to be given.

I might have said there is so much I should tell you, but that would have been a line. I can’t pry the shoulds from the understood.

I will re-imagine this.

Which means it is impossible not to take the paint chips, the carpet threads, with me.

Which means you will keep finding brown hair.


When I wrote On Leaving: An Essay, I had just finished reading The Body by Jenny Boully, City by Brian Lennon, and Vladimir Nabokov's Pale Fire. All three books had me thinking about the relationship that could be built between the essay and poetry and the experimentation that is essentially at the center of an essay, due to its origins and etymology. So I considered the logical steps in the process of writing an essay and from this a loose structure emerged˜a structure which seemed ideal to hold language together without the language having to choose whether it was going to be a poem or prose or a prose poem or creative nonfiction or a memoir or any other limiting and malignant name.