Carolee Bennett

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Cutting an Onion (A Love Poem)

Tears fall without my consent. Each time
I promise it will be different:

I will not cry again

but I am at the sink too quickly,
dousing my face with cold water.
She died years ago, and this is what I fear:

each hour

a page I peel away from
my own short life, each day
a layer I lift off my own tumor,
its eminent discovery a children’s game.

Mother says, Take five steps.
Marching toward the threshold,
you ask permission: Mother, may I?

The disease waits for us
to get close. We are
skin to skin. You on top.

Me beneath. Love,

you must stay put. You
are my last protection.

The Teardrop Lounge

Pearl District, Portland, Oregon

where it will be happy hour
where martinis will be called Aviators
where the waitress will be named Tiger
where I will confess I had no idea you still loved me
where the early November evening will be mild 
where the windows will fold up and push aside
where people will come in off the street to forget
where I will ask, Are you sure?
where your answer will be a kiss
where you will fuss with a wrinkle in the cuff of your shirt
where the sound of your phone ringing will pull you away
where you'll leave me to finish my drink
where I will keep watch of the door for your return
where I will stare at a red painting on the concrete wall
uncertain what the artist means, imagine she wonders like the rest of us
where we will go from here

Fish in the Aquarium Always Want to Be Fed 
A scientist claims he can ascertain personalities
by reading tweets as though that’s something new.   
But haven’t we always navigated disappointment
via Google, iPhone and GPS? Here’s what’s known:
IBM’s Watson lacks sex appeal. Our Starbucks cups
are fashion accessories, and we try to survive
on nothing but Lean Cuisine and texts from lovers:   


Isn’t it unnerving to think there are men among us
who’ve been in space? The manager on duty
doesn’t give a rip, and we’ve grown too sensitive
to watch even Cupcake Wars. We turn away
from the camera when we want privacy,
but fish come to the glass every time. Sincerity
so rare now, but we remember that one October
afternoon: a woman in a business suit, costume   
draped over her arm. How its plastic pink udder
swung as she walked. How the wind tried
to reanimate its black and white hide.

Carolee Bennett lives in Upstate New York, where – after a local, annual poetry competition – she has fun saying she has been the “almost” poet laureate of Smitty’s Tavern. She has an MFA from Ashland University in Ohio and works full-time as a writer in social media marketing. She manages the Twitter account for the Tupelo 30/30 writing project and recently joined the reviews team at The American Poetry Journal