Mary Carroll-Hackett


I tried writing poems, but words 
blur into headlines, into soundbites, 
into denials and excuses and partisan 
sniping. In my dreams, though, 
I am a keeping a diary, carefully inked
lines I can’t recall when I wake. 
I take great care with the dream
journal, a gift from a friend, handmade 
Italian paper, cover colorful and vining
with the fade of roses, their petals fragile
and thin, frail even. My hands, the skin
there too thinning, tremble a bit
each time I untie the ribbons, lift
the cover, to scrawled page after page, 
meticulous, all, the details I record 
in my sleep, the ritual each night 
the same, until I woke this morning 
to realize that what I am writing, in this 
diary of a crisis, the only thing 
I am desperate to keep safe, to etch into
time, into every line, are the names
of those who will leave us.

Mary Carroll-Hackett is the author of eight collections of poetry: The Real Politics of LipstickAnimal Soul, If We Could Know Our Bones,  The Night I Heard Everything, Trailer Park Oracle, A Little Blood, A Little Rain, and Death for Beginners, released from Kelsey Books in October 2017. Her newest chapbook, (Un)Hinged, was released Fall 2019. Mary teaches in the Creative Writing programs at Longwood University and with the low-residency MFA faculty at West Virginia Wesleyan. Mary is currently at work on a novel.