Milk Carton Girl

Mother — I am not missing.
I am not lost. Crow-like
men stole me, a shiny new ring
to hide in their nest of girls.

Mother — Don’t look where trains
drag graffiti from town to town.
Look for a pretty house with blinds
that never open and sullen boys
who mow the yard, but never
fill the empty bird bath.

Mother — Watch for flocks of men,
flying in and out of the house.
Their migrations distract neighbors
from the fluttering fingers wedged
between blind slats, signaling.

Mother — I miss my pink bedroom,
the quilt we made from old dresses,
teddy guarding the night stand. I want
to apologize to my dolls for shelving them
so early when I thought I was too old to play.

Mother — If you are late and I am already
gone, look for me in the backyard. The flowers
will be strangely tall, their colors bright
as screams. Pick a large bouquet.
Hold it in your arms. Carry me home.

Share this
Continue Reading
About the Author

Carolyn Dahl is the 2020 winner of the Poetry of the Plains and Prairies chapbook contest for A Muddy Kind of Love, which will be published by North Dakota State University. Her 2019 chapbook, Art Preserves What Can’t Be Saved, was a first place winner in the National Federation of Press Women’s Communication contest, the Press Women of Texas’ contest, and also received an Honorable Mention in the Eric Hoffer Book Awards.

Carolyn Dahl
More Posts by this author…