Carol Szamatowicz, Part One

by: Carol Szamatowicz

Reading Carol Szamatowicz is like having a close friend breezily share the contents of her heart with you, knowing you feel the same “embarrassed insight.” Her poetry gives us an essential and transformative gift: it’s the “the light that makes dirt pretty” again and again. 



On damp days I go about
with sore thumbs and a bruised arch
tuck the kayak in the tall grass off the deer path
oops here’s an Eastern DobsonFly four inches tip to tip
with superstar nonchalance
so why do I think the sunset and the river belong to me?
I can sit still and glaze myself
with just enough skull to wonder


Dear Ann

What explains my head?
the music turns over
play the b-side
thank you for taking charge
I’m at the edge of my pitch
straight over the plate
I see through change
to less change and possible pain
or love and charity
never growing old like memory
no matter what or where the altar
I’m humbled by the fragments I sort
the fragments turn over too
take this place beguiled by its schedules
train vet office party job
seasons with milestones and millstones
more drafts sprinkled than salt
in a pink library


Dear Tulips

Dear Truth, your headstone is faded
your books are wet
can you explain my dog’s thoughts?
explain contentment?
the cat knows something is missing
but doesn’t ask
mistakes can be managed
with a little elbow grease
blight is back again
damnation too
I feel their thick sprawl
one is worth two
with the same embarrassed insight
words are being shot at blank range
my dream of the Catskills
with gold snow in hand
this porch without a house
belongs to a meadow
a junco set course for the marsh
two crows take one twig to a cave
open to the flame or the water pipe
or a treasure in a floatable rail car
the long view of the Hudson
assorted indictments out the window
light makes dirt pretty


To supplement her poet’s existence and to raise a daughter, Carol Szamatowicz been an elementary, junior high, and high school teacher in the West and East Villages, Gramercy, and Chinatown since 1985. She has written a bevy of books including Cats and Birds (Stuyvesant Books, 1998), Reticular Pop-Ups (Insurance Editions, 2004), and I am Kit Carson (Forthcoming from Ten Editions, 2016) to name a few.

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