Dearling | Carolyn Oliver

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Carolyn Oliver is the author of Inside the Storm I Want to Touch the Tremble (University of Utah Press, 2022), winner of the Agha Shahid Ali Prize in Poetry. Her poems appear in her first chapbook, Mirror Factory (Bone & Ink Press, 2022), and in The Massachusetts Review, Copper Nickel, At Length, Smartish Pace, Shenandoah, Beloit Poetry Journal, 32 Poems, Southern Indiana Review, and elsewhere. Carolyn lives in Massachusetts with her family. To connect with her online, please visit  

Photo credit: Benjamin Oliver


Nine Minutes in June

My son insists he hatched from an egg. True,
they cracked my shell and scooped the yolk of him
from me, the scrambled rest all draped askew
atop my hollowed belly, just a scrim
of blue between my sight and what I made
in dark months. As they scraped me clean my arms
quaked, spread empty-wide. I wasn’t afraid
of anything except the world’s old charms:
bees in their hives, the storm that ends the drought,
the taste of wine when love’s in short supply.
Slick roads at night. A flash of island out
beyond the swells. No lizard mother I:
Dearest hatchling, how often would I break
my self for you? Here’s one wide scar, one ache.