Top Shelf

Poetry is like

reaching for a box on the top shelf.

My hand stumbles around, blind, and

knocking over cereal boxes.  A can

rolls and drops on my foot.  My hand

finds nothing and my arm gets sore.

I leave, returning the next day

Hoping that I will finally stretch

to the top of the shelf.  But more cans

spill over.  The wrong boxes tumble off the shelf.

I try to not whine or grumble

but I can never reach that one perfect box.

Eventually I just have to jump

and trust that my hand will grasp it.

It tips off the shelf – nearly slips out of my hand,

but at the last possible second, the box is secured.

Once I finally hold it in my hands, I can open it and eat.

The hunger goes away.

(Carly Boucher)


Next time you see the sun set over snow,

don’t forget to send a picture to me.

I never make it to Alaska, you know.

I saw Paris and Rome lit up with the glow

of flashing cameras, but I only need

the times you see the sun set over snow.

My eyes shut tight in every fashion show

see snowflakes, not a-lines.  I sit lonely –

I never make it to Alaska, you know.

Victoria was close, I felt the creeping cold,

but this time I can’t visit – what a pity!

Next time you see the sun set over snow,

Send a scrapbook of evenings to me so

that I can try to book tickets to go and see,

but I never go to Alaska, you know.

I’m old at thirty, the press all want me to go.

Size sixes don’t fit in, but I can’t yet leave.

So  next time you see the sun set over snow,

I never will make it to Alaska, you know.

(Carly Boucher)

Luke 2:19

“But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart”

Her child trips toward her

tears squeezing out from between clenched eyes.

His sandal is torn, hanging from his foot

held by only one strap.

No blood, but a small scrape

marks his palm.

A bramble sticks in his hair. 

His mother turns from her masterpiece of dinner,

catches her son, and sits in the dust with him,

letting the soup boil over.

She wipes his face

with the edge of her skirt.

He stops crying, burrowing his head

into her familiar shoulder.

She smiles over him, welcoming

the warmth and accepting

that the small pain now

is nothing compared to what has been

foretold.  He sleeps and she wraps him

in blankets, returning to her work,


(Carly Boucher)

Uncouth Difference

The pile of April’s belongings spill over the countertop,

mixing with all of our new purchases.

She bought normal goods, like

dish soap, a vacuum, hangers.

She brought normal possessions, like

towels, a notebook, rain boots.

When we recycled the boxes from move-in

and the dishes began to pile up next to the sink,

our belongings lined up in their places.

Her purse was flung on her desk, just like mine

and our iPods were both connected to our computers.

Her calculator was on the table and mine on the couch.

We had our cameras out to document

as we arranged our boots in our closet

and our clothes in our drawers

and even the cleaners under the sink.

Everything now is orderly and in their places,

except for a something, a strange thing.

Every single one of April’s possessions

is yellow.

(Carly Boucher)