Carrie Bennett

After 44 Years I Am Still Digging

When I planted the word in the ground
it was closer to rain than flower seed.
The dirt embraced its texture.
I am nothing like my body.
The other day I repeated “I am safe,
my daughter is safe” until
the thoughts were absorbed
into the ground.
My mind is nothing
like a clay pot though only in its substance
do I hear the last bee freezing on the ground.
Then the bees were swarming
like a thousand soft buttons.
Each house is encased in its own danger
or maybe I mean a fog set in.
When I learned that the mind can’t
differentiate between real violence
and the violence on a screen I still watched.
The other night I woke after punching
a hole in the wall, so frantic to turn on the light
while the imagined man watched
from the closet. I stood like a frozen branch.
Convinced I didn’t have the strength
I shook my head as my husband
said “yes you did, yes you did.”
I want words to grow into something
green with leaves and it is never so easy
for the wound to close.
When I say rain is it the sound
of a chainsaw or how a father can drink
until his eyes are lost in his face?

Future Motivation

To be in character I collect patterns
on the sidewalks with paper and pencil—
each rubbed copy I hang on a clotheslines
and burn when the sky turns to bat wing.

My new existence requires me to be
in my bed when the moon appears.
I’m not exactly attuned to the seasonal shifts
so I feel more spaceship.
I fell asleep to the glow of my phone.
A new fire withered in the corners.
What I do know is contact always contains
some contamination.

I study my character until the first rehearsal.
I wear green lipstick that easily smudges the walls.
I’m not sure what my name is
and bow to the empty chairs.
My motivation is leaf-change and rainfall.
Any moment can be a pointed flashlight.
The trees grow hands
that are constantly reaching.

After reading the review I think about the body

The men record nature and it is enough for a poem.
Ok I will catalogue the days drawn down.
On that walk I saw a deer and its doe.
On this morning I saw a hawk circling the sky.
But the men also expand on what they see.
They make the image spiritual or at least insightful.
They somehow connect the leaf to a larger body of thought.
My body isn’t a leaf or a thought though it did make another body.
At one point the baby was a thought.
Now the baby is a very small body.
She runs her hands over bright toys that sound like dried leaves.
Then she cries until I pick her up.
Her body is full of milk and shit and spit-up.
It is nothing like an idea of something else.
Her body depends on my body in a way that shocks me daily.


Notes on a Sunday afternoon, or how the machine sleeps in my body

The machine invites me in with its open mouth.
The machine and its rocks revolving around me.
The machine wants more of my body.
The machine decides it’s an avalanche.
A vile chance, an anvil ledge.
I wear three layers and a warm blanket.
I protect the needle and record the motion.
The cage covers my eyes and the ceiling presses down.
How much space does a body need?
The technician tells me to hold my breath, my hands, my mouth.
Stillness seeps into every corner.
The machine makes me believe in shovels and dirt.
I close my eyes and covet cream walls.
Don’t bother the technicians, the itch, the stitch
of the needle as the dye enters my arm.
The machine speaks in falling oceans, sharp ticks,
a giant clock at the bottom of a canyon.
The machine reads me a poem of stumbling fences,
collapsing chairs, corrosive stars and an endless tunnel.
I keep my eyes closed, the tears seep into my ear plugs.
My foot jerks me back awake.
I’ve failed all the tests so far.
I see a dark spot at the base of my brain
when I walk out of the room. A small dirty pool.
A circle, a cell, a smudge. A sloppy dug-out trench
in the murkiness. I can’t close the canister
of my mind so I go shopping high on Valium.
I buy throw pillows and Jordan almonds.
My teeth break from the hard sweetness.
All day the machine inside me revolves around my worry.
I try to make the room of me sterile but there’s always
a piece of fur or dust or dried dead moth to clean away.
No matter how many times I crouch to the ground.
O lure longer than my lungs. O language losing itself in the muck.

Carrie Bennett is the author of the poetry books Lost Letters and Other Animals, The Land Is a Painted Thing, and biography of water. She holds an MFA in poetry from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and currently teaches writing at Boston University.
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About Posit Editor

Susan Lewis ( is the Editor-in-chief and founder of Posit ( and the author of ten books and chapbooks, including Zoom (winner of the Washington Prize), Heisenberg's Salon, This Visit, and State of the Union. Her poetry has appeared in anthologies such as Walkers in the City (Rain Taxi), They Said (Black Lawrence Press), and Resist Much, Obey Little (Dispatches/Spuyten Duyvil), as well as in journals such as Agni, Boston Review, The Brooklyn Rail, Conjunctions online, Diode, Interim, New American Writing, and VOLT.