Charles K Carter, Lost to the Sea

When I Dream of the Ocean

When I dream of the ocean, I dream of your face.
I dream of the scent of sunscreen, hands on back,
closed eyes, kissed by the shine of another sunny day.

When I dream of the ocean, I dream of the smooth caramel sand
spackled on the back of your bright white legs,
freckled like fresh strawberry lemonade like the back of your hands.

When I dream of the ocean, I dream of the high tide
that washed away the sand from our feet
and the gleam from your chocolate pudding eyes.

When I dream of the ocean, I dream of tropical storms,
of tidal waves and riptides and hurricanes
taking away all that is good and sunny and warm.

When I dream of the ocean, I dream of your broken sandals found in the estuary.
I thought you were lost to the sea until I saw you in that Midwestern café.
You were not lost to the sea, only lost by choice, lost-lost to me.

Tribe

The lion hunts those who fall from the herd.
Tribe does the same, carefully picks its prey.
She’s a witch. An adulterer. Slut. Whore.
He’s a communist. Fag. A terrorist.
Fear immigrants, natives, the different.
Feed them to the lions. Grab your pitchfork.
Tie her to the stake. Light her up in flames.
No more screams, not a single peep or sound,
Watch Lady Liberty burn to the ground.

Father

There was a crow’s nest outside my window.
I would watch the father crow guard his little one
While the mother went out for food.

There was a crow’s nest outside my window.
I would watch the father crow teach the little one
To squawk and flap his downy wings.

There was a crow’s nest outside my window.
I stepped out on the branch over abandoned nest,
I spread my arms and tried to fly.

There was a crow’s nest outside my window.
I wanted to be his child, his little hatchling.
I wanted to make someone proud.

Charles K Carter is a queer poet and educator from Iowa who enjoys live music, yoga, hiking, and film. He has an MA in Creative Writing with a concentration on poetry from Southern New Hampshire University. He is currently working on an MFA from Lindenwood University.

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