Today, we will be celebrating some of the best poems by Carrie Fountain. We hope you will enjoy reading them just as much as I did curating them for you.
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Best poems by Carrie Fountain
- Burn Lake
For Burn Construction Company
When you were building the i-10 bypass,
one of your dozers, moving earth
at the center of a great pit,
slipped its thick blade beneath
the water table, slicing into the earth’s
wet palm, and the silt moistened
beneath the huge thing’s tires, and the crew
was sent home for the day.
Next morning, water filled the pit.
Nothing anyone could do to stop it coming.
It was a revelation: kidney-shaped, deep
green, there between the interstate
and the sewage treatment plant.
When nothing else worked, you called it
a lake and opened it to the public.
And we were the public.
- Eating the Avocado
Now I know that I’ve never described
anything, not one single thing, not
the flesh of the avocado which darkens
so quickly, though if you scrape
what’s been exposed to the air it’s new-green
beneath like nothing ever happened.
I want to describe this evening, though
it’s not spectacular. The baby babbling
in the other room over the din
and whistle of a football game, and now
the dog just outside the door, scratching,
rattling the tags on her collar, the car
going by, far away but loud, a car without
a muffler, and the sound of the baby
returning again, pleasure and weight.
I want to describe the baby. I want to describe
the baby for many hours to anyone
who wishes to hear me. My feelings for her
take me so far inside myself I can see the pure
holiness in motherhood, and it makes me
burn with success and fear, the hole her
coming has left open, widening. Last night
we fed her some of the avocado I’ve just
finished eating while writing this poem.
Her first food. I thought my heart might burst,
knowing she would no longer be made
entirely of me, flesh of my flesh. Startled
in her amusing way by the idea of eating,
she tried to take it in, but her mouth
pushed it out. And my heart did burst.
- Four Months Old
All the baby knows
is the flop of her limbs
and the milky blue vein
of sleep and the parking lot
of her animal fear,
the cars left there overnight,
windshields dark and thick
with dew. The rest is
the complete darkness
of her white room,
where she sleeps
on a clean sheet
printed with baby
crocodiles and lions
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- In the distant past
Things weren’t very specific
when I was in labor,
yet everything was
there, suddenly: all that
my body had known,
even things I’d only been
reminded of occasionally,
as when a stranger’s scent
had reminded me
of someone I’d known
in the distant past. The few
men I’d loved but didn’t
marry. The time, living
alone in Albuquerque,
when I fainted in the kitchen
one morning before work
and woke up on the floor,
covered in coffee. Finally.
it was coming. It was all moving
forward. Finally, it was all going
to pass through me. It was
beginning to happen
and it was all going to happen
in one single night.
No more lingering
in the adolescent pools
of memory, no more giving it
a little more time to see
if things would get better
or worse. No more moving
from one place to the next.
Finally, my body was all
that had ever been given
to me, it was all I had,
and I sweated through it
in layers, so that when,
in the end, I was finally
standing outside myself
and watching, I could see
that what brought me
into the world was pulling
you into the world,
and I could see that my body
was giving you up
and giving you to me,
and where in my body
there were talents, there
were talents, and where
there were no talents,
there would be scars.
I don’t want to teach you anything
or show you my wound or have you taste
the amazing thing I made this morning
with only what we had left in the fridge
before you came home with new groceries.
I’m as tired as you are of genius. Hey,
do you know where we put the sky?
I haven’t seen it for months.
When I was in New Mexico last week
all I did was push the baby in her stroller
and worry about the sun on her legs
and think about coming home. Now
I’m home and I’m thinking of the way
the light came in off the runway
while I was waiting in the airport
for the return flight, feeding the baby
a hundred Cheerios, one by one, thinking,
I don’t even know how to visit New Mexico
anymore, thinking, I guess there isn’t going to be
a time when I live like I lived that summer
in Santa Fe, that summer-into-fall
I’ve for so long told myself I will someday
return to, that place I’ve kept, that ace
in the hole, that life with mornings
and afternoons that I am still holding back
with the very tip of my fingernail. After all,
this afternoon is the afternoon I’ve been
waiting for all my life: running
the vacuum over the rugs while you walk
the baby around the block and my breasts
heat and tingle as they fill again with milk
and someone with the wrong number
calls my cell again and again, refusing
to take there is no Phillip here for an answer.
This is, after all, the exact life I take with me
to bed each night, digging deeper and deeper
into its blood-dark soil, waking some mornings
from dreams that shake me and leave me
with a thirst for the past or the future,
a distance I can never reach—dreams
of a house I don’t recognize but know
I have lived in all my life, someone
I’ve never seen saying, Reach under
your shoulder blade and feel with your fingers
the place where I pierced you. Oh,
that summer: Why did I have to leave it
cracked open behind me as I went? How
did I even do that? How did I get that
one sky to stay wedged there, blue as the sky
and just as big?
I am done smoking cigarettes, done waiting tables, done counting tips
at two a.m. in the neon-dark dance hall, done sleeping with young men
in my apartment, done facing them or not, thinking of oblivion, which
is better than nothing. I am done not wearing underwear because
it’s so Victorian. I am done telling men I don’t wear underwear because
it’s so Victorian. I am done with the night a guy spread my legs
on a pool table, all those balls piled up in the pockets. I am done.
I am never going back. When I see that night on the street I will
drive past and never even glance over. I am done going to grad school,
nodding in your workshop. I am done teaching English as a second
language, saying I pointing to my chest, saying you pointing to them.
I am done teaching the poetry class where no one talked and no one
listened to me and outside the window the cottonwood wagged
its sun-white leaves in the breeze as if to say, I give up, I give up. I am done
being a childless woman, a childless wife, a woman with no scars
on her body. I am done with the wide afternoons of before, the long
stare, the tightly closed door. And I am done, too, for the most part,
with the daydream of after. I am after for now. I am turning up the heater
to see if that will make the baby sleep another fifteen minutes
so I can finish this poem. I am done thinking of the past as if it had
survived, though sometimes I think of the past and sometimes I see it
coming, catching up, hands caked with dried mud, head shaved clean.
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This is all we have on today’s post on the Best Poems by Carrie Fountain. This is, however, not an exhaustive list, and if we have missed out on some of your favorites, then please feel free to add them in the comment section below.
Until next time!
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