To the woman weighing lemons at the grocery store

Last night you dreamed you could drink up all the air
            between maple branches and moonshine.

It tasted of hemlock tips, resinous furring
            sour and then bitter as the green underside

of sea ice approaching a country made
            of narrow rain.

Who will smell the twist of oil behind your ear,
            who will sigh against your morning?

Who will ask, where have you been?


Carolyn Oliver (she/her) is the author of Inside the Storm I Want to Touch the Tremble (University of Utah Press, forthcoming 2022), selected by Matthew Olzmann for the Agha Shahid Ali Prize. Carolyn’s poems appear in The Massachusetts Review, Indiana Review, Cincinnati Review, Radar Poetry, Shenandoah, Beloit Poetry Journal, 32 Poems, Southern Indiana Review, Cherry Tree, Plume, DIALOGIST, and elsewhere. Carolyn is the winner of the E. E. Cummings Prize from the NEPC, the Goldstein Prize from Michigan Quarterly Review, and the Writer’s Block Prize in Poetry. She lives in Massachusetts with her family. Online: