Abigail Carroll



Jam

A year in Dijon learning to carve an “R”
out of the rocky landscape of English, decipher

when to say J'ai faim


the way my plump, American French teacher taught—
Répétez she would say, rubbing her stomach with pomp—
            and when, Je suis crevée

like the thin, tight-jeaned students on the bus—
neck-scarved and lip-glossed, cigarettes in hand.
            C'est vâchement dur,

they complained with élan, dishing out slang enough
to feast a hungry ear. A year in Dijon, nose stuck

in the Petit Robert,


day after day practicing my upturned bonjour
at the corner tabac, in the cologne-soaked bus,
            the fluorescent-buzzing salle de classe.

A year in Dijon, and what do I remember?
The glowing jar of apricot jam, elegant
            as an objet d'art—

gift of summer heat, patient orange jewel
lighting up the eaves of the tiny attic kitchen.
            Gourmande, impatiante,
           
I twisted the lid, spooned the amber harvest,
lingered in the light of the thick, englassed orchard
            tout à fait contente
           
as if I had discovered the edibility of delight—la joie
de la langue—the perfect turn of every lovely word
            before it departed my tongue.


Notes to a Beginning Poet

Prepare to lie
about your childhood:
the dent
toward the center
of the linoleum,
the black moon-
shaped spot
on the left
shoulder
of your dog.
Catalogue
the root-tip
of every grass-
blade, every
hair-thin crack
in the sidewalk,
the pull and slap
of every kind
of flip-flop.
Become
an expert
on icicles,
eyeglass frames,
the evolution

of a water stain.
Spend an hour
with an insect.
Construct
the sunset
with the
alphabet—
that tool-kit
of sound—then
take the light
apart. Start
a new language
of roadsigns, head-
lines, the labels
of dessert wines.
Teach it
to the bookcase,
your steering wheel,
the cat. Grab
a napkin, a scrap
of envelope,
your chewed-up,

capless pen.
Write deep,
deep, deep
into the night—
Then,
in the morning,
start over again.




Abigail Carroll has published prose in the New York Times, Winterthur Portfolio, and The Journal of American Culture and is currently authoring a popular history of the American meal for Basic Books. Her poems have appeared in Grey Sparrow Journal, Numinous, Clapboard House, and Flourish, and are forthcoming in The Midwest Quarterly and River Oak Review. She holds a Ph.D. in American Studies from Boston University and lives in Winooski, Vermont.









                                    

 

Home
Current Issue
Submissions
Contributors' Notes


Email this poem Printer friendly page

A CLOSER LOOK: Philip Dacey

Javy Awan

Ann Gilligan Bond

Shirley J. Brewer

Rick Bursky

Abigail Carroll

Bill Christophersen

Maryann Corbett

Dana Crum

Maureen Donatelli

Karen Greenbaum-Maya on Judy Kronenfeld

Kirsten Hampton

Maryanne Hannan on Kim Roberts

Kathleen Hellen

Paul Hopper

Gray Jacobik on Anne Harding Woodworth

Michael Jones

Remembering Ann Knox

Jean L. Kreiling

Dane Kuttler

Merrill Leffler

Gregory Luce

Greg McBride on Rick Bursky

Bob Meszaros

John Milbury-Steen

Rosanna Oh

Richard Peabody

Roger Pfingston

Heddy Reid

Oliver Rice

Elisavietta Ritchie

W.M. Rivera

Karen Sagstetter

David Sloan

Michael Spring

Naomi Thiers

Michele Wolf

Anne Harding Woodworth

P. Ivan Young

Edwin Zimmerman

More

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

       

 

 

 

 

 


Last Updated: Feb 24, 2017 - 9:01:52 AM

Copyright 2005 - 2016 Cook Communication.