Two Poems by Carolynn Kingyens

by: Carolynn Kingyens

These two poems by Carolynn KIngyens offer the reader the possibility of reconsidering how we understand everything from our most quotidian moments to our deeply held sense of our fragility and failings: “I think this must be the abundant life/” where “possibilities are found everywhere.”


Abundant Life

I have enough time
before all the bananas go black
in the cracked, cerulean bowl –
a Brooklyn treasure
found on a stranger’s stoop.

Here, front stoop means free stuff.

Here, fruit is an hour glass.
Here, Seal is Morpheus.

We’re never going to survive
unless we get a little crazy.

And I am crazy 
about squid and shitake,
sinew and cartilage;
not caring what I look like -
sucking the fishbone-broth dry like a savage,
double-fisting the pretty, embroidered bowl.

I don’t know why I keep bowing to our kind host,
or why we keep making the same sake toast,
until you do your best, shit-faced De Niro,
until I see you in new light.

I walk the extra blocks back,
if only to listen to the bells of St. Agnes
a little longer.

I think this must be the abundant life,
when His cup overflows,
and possibilities are found everywhere.


Small as a Mouse

Bigger you give, bigger you get
We’re boss at denial but best at forget
Cupboard is empty, we really need food
Summer is winter and you always knew

+++++++++++++Little Things – Bush

I mistook tolerance as love
for so long that I grew small and quiet
as a mouse making a home
inside a load-bearing wall,
content with my matchstick bed
and wedge of sweet swiss.

My high frequency heartbeat
tortured the cat, but sadly
no one else in that house.

Even now, I sometimes catch myself
Apologizing, inappropriately, for other people’s offenses –

Sorry, you bumped into me.

Sorry, you hid my keys when you got so angry,
getting off watching my face pulse with fear
at the thought of losing my mind like my mother
and my mother’s mother.

Sorry, for spreading lies so convincingly
I lost my past and present at once.

My atheist friend, by contrast, grew stoic and unmovable
as a Brooklyn brownstone.

Once, over coffee, she told me she believed that faith
came down to one’s genes, not one’s heart.

That night, we were two shadows lost in conversation –

one big as a building,

the other small as a mouse.


Carolynn Kingyens’ poems have appeared in Boxcar Poetry Review, Schuylkill Valley Journal, Word Riot, Glass Journal and The Potomac. She lives in NYC with her husband of almost 19 years, two amazing daughters, an old cat and a young rescue dog.

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