Carlina Duan

now my dress smells like rain & all day long: I've beeneager to get back to my book. a novel about a youngcouple making pasta & falling into one another'sskin. an Irish novel, with names of cities that clunkaround in my mouth — cities I'd never heard ofbut now ride my skull like pleasant, individually-wrapped candies, words with strange cactus-likeshapes, words I star: Sligo. Carricklea. I turnthe page. my mind goes: stick, stick, stick,my brain goes hungry for more. today I runthrough the rain in my wooden clogs & pleasureat the sound: thump, thump, thump, the entiregreen world of a street flashing down an opensewer drain. So alive! I think, thenremember what else makes me possible: publiclibraries. cartilage. a good hardcover. a prayerI overhear my cab driver mumble whilepassing by a full school bus. goose bumps I getfrom reading my old journal, one sentence,another: My heart is a skull zone (did I reallywrite that?) — & oh, I am possible again. I ama fragrant, silly self. today, I thankthe worms who eat the dirt whobreak down the soil who makethe lilacs possible and young, foreverpurpling, forever cradled in my palms as I crossBlakemore Avenue and it rains, rains, rains, and Ithink about eating up the alphabet, which hasmade a city into a word into a sound: Sligo,which slides, slinky-like, into my brain,the dear alphabet which has made meinto a woman who will cross the streetand love the lilacs and treasure the strangeturn of the day, the strange turn ofa word, a sentence, a curve and a strokeof black ink that — thank you — brought me here.

Feature Date


Selected By

Share This Poem

Print This Poem

photo of Carlina Duan

Carlina Duan is a writer from Michigan. She is the author of I Wore My Blackest Hair (Little A, 2017) and Alien Miss (University of Wisconsin Press, 2021). Carlina received her M.F.A. from Vanderbilt University, where she served as Co-Editor-in-Chief of Nashville Review. She is currently a doctoral student in the University of Michigan’s Joint Program in English and Education. Her poems have been published in POETRY, Poets.org, Narrative Magazine, and The Rumpus, among other places. She believes in gardens. www.carlinaduan.com.

Winter 2021

Charlottesville, Virginia

Poetry Editor
Aria Aber

Associate Poetry Editors
J. Bailey Hutchinson
Kendra Langdon Juskus
Nathan Lipps
Kwame Opoku-Duku

BOAAT is an online journal operating out of Charlottesville, Virginia.

Poetry Daily Depends on You

With your support, we make reading the best contemporary poetry a treasured daily experience. Consider a contribution today.