Emily Carr

from 13 Ways of Happily
draft 1, eye, white & spring.

the young housewife forging myth in the kitchen—like all 
the old hopes, the beginning can only be called by what it is not

something panting—truly—in this ecstatic 
anarchic release into the commonplace: the very thing (as foetus) & object

of enjoyment (amore propre) disoriented in the whitehot air

                                                                    —yes everyday 
           falling while gravity 
throws apples from the trees—

in which version did we— 
a woman      (double you’d 
           a child (so microscopically correct 
                       a man (practices yes, no— 
share that single cell?

           in the leaf & bud & how the blue
swings swagger from cowboy
                        hats sparrows make happy dustbaths—

try to be patient. high above the old white

                      pinwheels in 
the dilated gaze of the sublet 
                                    the sparrow’s eye, leafless— 
                            with bewildered adjacency

as it falls—unchristened unclarified 
every hour accidental a child & a chicken play tag in flight 
from the everchanging it—.

            —decaying now in finemilk
                                foam of sea the dream traces
a hand-picked wingbone unfading wax flower

                                             it’s from this wound you first emerged 
oblivious in excess fish in the air begging for sea 
soul in the gap between

yes there is no one 
to tell you for years you will fall, in
                      a gradual reenactment—.

listen. like wings sprouting in the mind the bonepile grows

                                   but these are very real, very precise
butterflies all-mond brown & a-mind white an ecstasy of 
crystalline palimpsest wobbling across wheatfields swayed—
like skyscrapers or trees—

                                            from time to time do we all
                    go through this dissolve root to leaf
                               of now intimate at last, on the tremolo
                                                                            near wingtip

                                                                                                                after J. Retallack


draft 2, & you know this is your fate to waver.

                                    on a rainspun afternoon when bombs 
            fall a continent away the season 
flimmers like a watery jewel on the dream’s 
                      cobweb & the sparrow of what you are wakes, this slaphappy derelict—

in the empty ballfield the rockies’ chalk 
                        outline dissolves choked with chickweed 
& wildradish the fatslush rain is trying to explain—.

forget about venetian blinds, slip
through that window—spilling like thick blonde milk a solo 
                        joy note

crumpled spandex sun carmurder 
                        noise dioxidedrunk magnolia & soon too 

sparrow chorus

                         Christ whatever this strange hopeful fever—
in the mountains violets have broken
            the rocks inaccurate grasses keep a feckless guard—

self conscious with beauty & food, a sobbing frog leapt from that generous pond

                                 in the dazzling subdivisions where no
                    tree grows a she in loslung pants & spaghetti
                    strap zigzag catwalks utterly lost 
                                in the morning hope of meat

(you do not
know which to prefer: the shadows of 
lifesized fiberglass cows or the child with a 
plush octopus, barking

aimless wasteful & drunk the sun is lunatic logic but lovely 
yes like lemonjuice splashed

                                              but world is one short, an off
                       number & you in your generous
                                   bed are the last astonishing
mammal in whirligig slomotion solidifying from the dream

                      you are coming back through—

wheeling out of your ordinary 
thighs through curtains & cloud yeast

the fine young season flails screes skirls 
a mirage of buoyant polyglot—.

                       nearby by accident, green mountains melt

like jello in slo liberation the world turns on its stem

                               (you too are wavering you are careless 
                               volunteering your seed—

                                                                                                                  after J. Kyger



13 Ways of Happily: Books 1 & 2 was chosen by Cole Swensen as the winner of the 2009 New Measures Prize & is forthcoming from Parlor Press in 2011. Emily Carr’s first book, directions for flying (2009) is available from Furniture Press. You can also read Emily’s work in recent issues of journals like Prairie Schooner, The Spoon River Poetry Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, The Journal, Bombay Gin, Margie, Phoebe & Fourteen Hills.