Carol Frost


All Summer Long

The dogs eat hoof slivers and lie under the porch.
A strand of human hair hangs strangely from a fruit tree
like a cry in the throat. The sky is clay for the child who is past
being tired, who wanders in waist-deep
grasses. Gnats rise in a vapor,
in a long mounting whine around her forehead and ears.

The sun is an indistinct moon. Frail sticks
of grass poke her ankles,
and a wet froth of spiders touches her legs
like wet fingers. The musk and smell
of air are as hot as the savory
terrible exhales from a tired horse.

Argonaut's Vow

Pushed prow southerly into the golden wind:

hurt the eyes: gold pelted water: so looked less far away:

plovers huddling on the tide's last piece of shore:

Rise up in brightness: clap wings::

I told myself I'll go where eagles go: if to brimstone:

my wake a narrow river back

to its source in cedar: and when sunlight embers

the shore's soft fleece will be before me.

Man of War

After there were no women, men, and children,

from the somber deeps horseshoe crabs crawled up on somber shores:

Man-of-Wars' blue sails drifted downwind

and blue filaments of some biblical cloak

floated below: the stinging filaments.

The cored of bone and rock-headed came near:

clouds made wandering shadows:

sea and grasses mingled::

There was no hell after all

but a lull before it began over::

flesh lying alone: then mating: a little spray of soul:

and the grace of waves, of stars, and remotest isles.



I’ ve felt undeserving. I’ ve made myself ill with the glory,
in the unleavened garden
disgorged the lies and scared away with a stick a snake.
What made me cover that which I could not have?

I’ ve grieved and walked in catacombs,
I’ ve felt undeserving. I’ ve made myself ill with the glory.
Even the falling leaves gesture their renunciation.
I disgorge the lies and abhor the serpent’ s hiss.

To Kill a Deer

Into the changes of autumn brush
the doe walked, and the hide, head, and ears
were the tinsel browns. They made her.
I could not see her. She reappeared, stuffed with apples,
and I shot her. Into the pines she ran,
and I ran after. I might have lost her,
seeing no sign of blood or scuffle,
but felt myself part of the woods,
a woman with a doe’ s ears, and heard her
dying, counted her last breaths like a song
of dying, and found her dying.
I shot her again because her lungs rattled like castanets,


It was dusk, the light hesitating
and a murmer in the wind, when the deer, exhausted,
turned to look at me, an arrow in its side.

Though I pity dreamers, taking a thread
and weaving it upon the loom of Self — the secret,
gaudy, wonderful new cloth — , I will tell the end of the story.

His shoulder was torn, the joint held by one sinew,
which I severed with the blade of the arrow,
so when he ran there were no impediments.

The black dogs that followed were swifter,
their barking ancient, despicable.