Custody of the Eyes | Caroline Goodwin

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Caroline Goodwin moved from Sitka, Alaska to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1999 to attend Stanford as a Wallace Stegner Fellow in poetry. Her books are Trapline (JackLeg Press, 2013), Peregrine (Finishing Line Press, 2015) and The Paper Tree (Big Yes Press, 2017). She holds an MFA from the University of British Columbia and teaches at California College of the Arts, UC Berkeley Extension and Stanford Continuing Studies. 



I walked right out through the gate you left
after the rain folded back. And that which
gave permission also bestowed the burden.
So many nights without you, one would

think I'd be accustomed by now. And the book
of signs would be a solace, not an arrow.


To see them unwrap me. The talkiness, the risen loaves.
In Yellowknife, a woman cuts and then lifts her own wrist.
The green dawn. The decorated quiver, arsenic. And she
is my hero, my friend with the leaves at her eyes.

Her mud mouth, packed with shoots, the only true 
sign of spring. The everlasting inky shadow.


If I could hunt you down, my love, the white sky
behind the cypress or the overgrown hedge.
If the hedge would just offer up all its berries.
If at dawn I could receive the faraway surf, or

anything with feathers. There would of course be rose
thorns and recognition, gold at the crown of my head.