In an ocean of hands: Poetry by Carrie Chappell

“self-portrait as pickpocket”


self-portrait as pickpocket

now, i am an old woman
in a window staring through,
i mean, at your pants. and when

we embrace, believe me,
it is then your eyes dart
like minnows close

to the wand of my net.
our images are caught
in a voicelessness,

and that’s what we admire
on the metro, the vacuum,
indelible anonymity.

that’s why my hands
like two birds go
hopping to your wave.

that’s why light moves
in on you, when you think
you’ve found a sandbar.

don’t be so
shrewish. give me
a peep. what have you

got there.
when i say nothing
but touch, i am calling

you my sister—
fish or sword.
it will be our words,

be they spoken,
that become the loudness
of shells

shrieking seas
of difference,
while we ought to say,

no, no, i am but
a yawn violining
in your ear. tonight,

i am your water,
the thief, let me
relieve you

of you. don’t be
shy, i’ve never met
a beach, a shore

of cloth
that didn’t want
to wilt in my hand.

Carrie Chappell is originally from Birmingham, Alabama. She received her Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of New Orleans’ Creative Writing Workshop. Some of her poetry has appeared in Juked, Harpur Palate, horse less press, The Volta, Cream City Review, Paris Lit Up, The Offending Adam, and Bateau Press. Her book reviews have appeared in The Collagist, Diagram, Iowa Review, and Xavier Review. Currently, she serves as Poetry Editor for Sundog Lit and lives in Paris, France.

Visual art is by Baptiste de Chabaneix, a musician and visual artist living in Paris, France. In 2014, he founded the drum academy Les Apprentis Batteurs. Follow his projects on Instagram @dechabaneixbaptiste.


Poems curated by FORTH poetry editors.

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