How I Learned to Make Maps by Marie Cartier


I went into the unknown world with glasses

that made everything so clear I could

move through this world into the next.

Before I got my glasses…I didn’t see the way I could step to the edge,

put out my hand, split the known world and

go through: into the unknown.

I became someone without history.

Those rooms with my father, those times, those days, then nights.

Those stories …

Incest really is not a word that describes anything.

It does not describe the way the body splinters and then the known world separates and

when the known world separates, when all you know is you splitting,

 all you see is clouds.

So, I got glasses and I walked to the very edge of the flat world and stepped through.

Oh, I said, the world is round… is round is round. I started circling the round world

to find my hero, my Self.

I was alone, but my glasses were sparkling clean.

Continue reading “How I Learned to Make Maps by Marie Cartier”

How I Learned to Love Snakes (a poem) by Marie Cartier

Can I recall a time when my resilience surprised me?

My mother always said, “If you feel bad, go out into the garden and eat worms.” Sigh. We didn’t have a garden. My resilience. My head hits the counter, as my father’s hand slams into the back of my head. I am locked in a closet. I am. That would be my mother as I grew up. Kicked up. Weeds grow. They do. What is surprising to me at sixty is not my resilience, but the fact that I never leaned back. Stopped. Being resilient is the inside and out of my blood type—moving through all of my veins. I am surprised if I cut myself there is blood left. But there is. I still bleed.

This is resilience.

Can I recall a time when resistance was the only option?

My father. I am twelve. My best friend is over. I go in the other room with him. I have to. She hears this, my best friend. I resist shame like a knife blade I hold. I leave the room with the blade held out. Shame then holds out a cloak promising me something. A space to hide maybe. I resist. I am in a cold fever. My best friend and I sit; we are watching a documentary on TV. My mother sits behind us. She says to no one, “Things happen at everyone’s house. I bet things happen at your house, too.” My best friend and I say nothing. I resist feeling. On the TV are flamingoes and I will hate flamingoes for the rest of my life.

This is resistance. Continue reading “How I Learned to Love Snakes (a poem) by Marie Cartier”

%d bloggers like this: