Mary Carroll-Hackett


The Girl at the Broken Window

seems not to see the edges, so suddenly sharp and so near the small hand she raises, waving to someone we can’t see down below in the street. The angle of sun has placed her in danger, the sharp glint of risk, and unable to breathe, I am already seeing the blood, the slicing of tender skin, as she reaches from within this framed moment, out to something more.


But there is no blood, no wound. Even so, I can’t keep my eyes from the translucent skin of her wrist, paperwhite and thin. Behind her in the background, there is a door, shut, locked maybe. The window, the girl, the sun, the street, me below on the sidewalk, all trapped there, where that glass is so jagged, and desire is so clear.





again, each night, when the dead gather, soft glow encircling my bed, movement and memory and mist.

I think at first I’m dreaming. Or maybe drowning.

They lean in and over, their hands liquid and light, haloing my head, surrounding my face. Their voices like the dark space between hymns, a rising sound like touch, they call all of my names at once.

They say Make a bowl of your heart. They say Each moment we give you as christening.
They say Never is Love too much.


(After the painting by Jonathan K. Rice)





Mary Carroll-Hackett is the author of The Real Politics of Lipstick, Animal Soul, If We Could Know Our Bones,and The Night I Heard Everything. Another collection, A Little Blood, A Little Rain, is forthcoming from FutureCycle Press in 2016. She teaches at Longwood University, and with the MFA faculty at West Virginia Wesleyan. Mary is at work on a memoir.

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