Monday, February 8, 2016

Doritt Carroll


i learned about dry shampoo when the nurses cleaned
my father’s hair as he lay in the dead bed

that we rented from the you-won’t-need-this-for-long-
because-it’s-fatal company

i also learned that the nails of the almost-
dead grow and grow segmented and terrible

until my father’s feet resembled the claws of a bear
the metal bed a trap that had us all by the ankle

every day at 1 pm when i gave him the anti-seizure medication
on cue my mother began to chime repeating

two times, three times, sometimes eleven that it was me
and my dropper of Keppra and not the brain tumor

that made his eyes wander off in different directions like
if Hansel and Gretel had split up in the forest to try their separate luck

you did this you did this she caroled while the nurses and I rebalanced
his rolling head on the pillows to make it seem like he was looking at her

then she’d rush off to buy another lemon or lime
meringue pie at the grocery store

stuffing in the neon green and yellow bites
as if she could make him firm again by filling him

and no matter how many bites she already had crammed in
his final act of obedience was to open up his mouth for more

his gray lips hard and gaping
the scarred spoon baited with the foamy meringue

a hook she would use to catch him
to reel him back

* * *

Doritt Carroll is (unfortunately) a lawyer and (fortunately) the mother of two daughters. A native of Washington, DC, she received her undergraduate and law degrees from Georgetown University. Her collection In Caves was published in 2010 by Brickhouse Books. Her book GLTTL STP was published in 2013 by Brickhouse Books, and the title poem was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her poems have appeared in publications including Coal City Review, Poet Lore, Nimrod, Slipstream, Rattle, Plainsongs, Poetry Depth Quarterly, and Journal of Formal Poetry, and she has served as one of the Shakespeare Theatre’s poets in residence.

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