Poems by Carter McKenzie

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Prayer for Heaven

by Carter McKenzie

From Canary Spring 2012

Carter lives in the foothills of western Oregon’s Cascade Mountains in the Middle Fork Willamette watershed near Lost Creek.

May it hold the sounds
of the raw seams of our world,
our difficult heart, the borders
always at war.
May it hold mercy.
May it never be
above and beyond
blossoms
scattering.
May it gather the blossoms beyond
the dark wall, on every side
revealing
an opening.
May it discover new names.
May heaven be generous, may
its own burning
sky,
its seraphim of infinite
moons and suns,
include every loss, even
the loneliness of the bones of a dog
floating
among the miracles of space
before the anonymous fall, the abandoned vesselís
fiery descent, everything
gone wrong, may it include even
the loneliness of the dog.
May it hold in its eye
the deep blue
dream we keep trying to telló
how the light falls apart,
then is saved
no matter what happens,
again and again, may heaven
be the singing, and may we be
forever changed.




Stories of the Black Ware Seed Jar

—after a seed jar created by R. Diane Martinez

by Carter McKenzie

From Canary Winter 2014-15

I have been through fire.
My form is fixed,
smoke-dark,
patterns of wing,
beak, thunder, and eye,
the storm of birds
chasing each other,
energies of life.
My small mouth
is starred,
cool and dry,
remembering
seeds
of potential.
Burnished
with stone,
I recall patience
through winter,
through wind,
through the rains
that fill the arroyos.
I absorb, hold
what stirs, rattles
like prayers,
like snakes,
awaiting release until
they pour my gifts
into the field again,
what you imagine—
where I began,
seed after seed,
fire becoming
field,
blossom and grain
and all of the voices
therein.




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