Robert Carr

I’m Reminded of What I’ve Forgotten


Squirrels scatter nut chunks

From the giant hickory tree above the drive.

Walking the dog, you remind me

Of little things I’ve failed to do.

I hold a braided lead. You slip on bitter shell.


Could you sweep this up? you ask,

Have asked for several decades.

(It takes bristle to care for other than yourself.)

The oven heated to 350

After dinner’s done: You want this on?


Bedroom windows as we leave

The house: You want these open?

Back door unlocked the morning after

I’m home late: Could you do something about that?

I answer, Apparently not.


I’ve learned a few things over years.

The toilet seat is always down.

The three-ply paper over, not under.

Lies have consequences

And more than one chest beats with a pulse.


On our walk, you stoop to pick up shit.

Fresh shaved head, spots of red on a fair scalp.

I’ll miss the reminders, so please don’t die.

I have never brushed a bath.

Nothing will be swept, meals will burn.


Wind and rain will pour through every opening

In the house. Glass picture frames

Exploding in the hall. My bleeding fist.

The sink filled with coffee mugs, rot in the fridge.

Even my body will smell different if you go.



Robert Carr is the author of Amaranth, published in 2016 by Indolent Books and The Unbuttoned Eye, a full-length 2019 collection from 3: A Taos Press. Among other publications his poetry appears in the American Journal of Poetry, Massachusetts Review, Rattle, Shenandoah, and Tar River Poetry. Robert is a poetry editor with Indolent Books and Deputy Director for the Bureau of Infectious Disease and Laboratory Sciences at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Additional information can be found at