Carver Cuts: Part Four

2016-08-06 21.50.46

The fourth poem in the Carver Cuts installment [1] [2] [3] is based on the story “Collectors”:

 

Dust

after Raymond Carver

I was listening to the rain when I heard someone
walk onto the porch, wait, then knock.  I lay still.
I knew it wasn’t the mailman.  I knew his steps.
You can’t be too careful if you’re out of work and
you get notices mailed or pushed under your door.
Another knock.  Who’s there? I have something for
Mrs. Slater.  She’s won something.  Is she home?
Mrs. Slater doesn’t live here, I said. Well, he said.
Are you Mr. Slater? I got off the sofa and opened
the door.  Water ran off his raincoat and onto this
big suitcase contraption he carried.  He put out his
hand.  Aubrey Bell, he said.  Mrs. Slater filled out
a card, he said.  Mrs. Slater is a winner.  Mrs. Slater
doesn’t live here, I said.  What’d she win?  I have
to show you, he said.  Mrs. Slater’s card was pulled
at random out of a basket of hundreds of cards,
he said.  She’s a winner.  No strings.  I’m here
to do your mattress.  You’ll be surprised at what
can collect over the years.  No way am I in the market
for a vacuum cleaner, I said.  He flopped his case
open.  He was on his knees, inserting the pipes into
the hose, grunting.  He attached some scoop
to the end.  I think you better pack your things
and go, I said, but he was looking around the room
for a plug-in.  He found one, and the machine
rattled as if there were something loose inside,
like a marble, then settled to a hum.  The scoop
tugged at the mattress, and the vacuum whirred
louder.  He made three passes over the mattress,
then switched off the machine and took out
the filter.  He pinched some of the dusty stuff
between his fingers, must have been a cup of it.
He had this look on his face.  I heard steps on
the porch, the mail slot opened and clinked shut.
We looked at each other.  You want coffee?
I said.  I put on water and by the time I’d fixed
two cups, he had everything back in the case.
He picked up the letter, read the name, and
folded it in half, put it in his hip pocket.
It’s for a Mr. Slater, he said.  I’ll see to it.
You’re sure that’s who the letters for? I said.
You want to see it? he said?  Don’t believe me?
Just seems strange, I said.  Well, I’d better be
off, he said.  But he kept standing there.

Poems for Father’s Day

Here’s a list of great poems for Father’s Day:

Digging” by Seamus Heaney

Winter Stars” by Larry Levis

Working Late” by Louis Simpson

My Dad’s Wallet” by Raymond Carver

My Papa’s Waltz” by Theodore Roethke

The Golden Shovel” by Terrance Hayes

Descent,” by Andrew Purcell

O My Pa-Pa” by Bob Hicok

This Hour and What Is Dead” by Li-Young Lee

The Lost Pilot” by James Tate

The Ghost of Weather” by Bruce Bond

Mrs. Hill” by B.H. Fairchild

 

 

 

 

 

Six New Poems at fluland

The editor at fluland.com was kind enough to feature six of my poems here: http://www.fluland.com/2017/05/19/six-poems-taylor-collier/

 

 

Poem for Mother’s Day “That Saturday Without a Car” by Stephen Dunn

For Mother’s Day, I thought I’d share one of my favorite Stephen Dunn poems.

 

That Saturday Without a Car

for Ellen Dunn (1910-1969)

Five miles to my mother’s house,
a distance I’d never run.
“I think she’s dead”
my brother said, and hung up

as if with death
language should be mercifully approximate,
should keep the fact
that would forever be fact

at bay. I understood,
and as I ran wondered what words
I might say, and to whom.
I saw myself opening the door—

my brother, both of us, embarrassed
by the sudden intimacy we’d feel.
We had expected it
but we’d expected it every year

for ten: her heart was the best
and worst of her—every kindness
fought its way through damage,
her breasts disappeared

as if the heart itself, for comfort,
had sucked them in.
And I was running better
than I ever had. How different it was

from driving, the way I’d gone
to other deaths—
my body fighting it all off, my heart,
this adequate heart, getting me there.

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