Bill Carty


Rain plumps the country up,
and the country was plenty plump

enough, a big country
with its big yellow mouth

of an interstate warning

until we felt the soft
shoulder give way

give way beneath our tires,
jerked the wheel to the left,

toward some consolation
forming in a far

corner of the hangar.
Air power. Maybe war would

bring the far sea closer.
Better oars do that.

The ambassador said,
This war will find another

war to hide behind.
Were those blue bells

in the field? No,
helmets abandoned

by the occupying forces.
The ambassador said,

The cities are violent,
yes, but you’ll be fine

if it’s raining. So we woke
to see if water fell

as the day began,
as war began for the day

before the day began
for those who began the war.

It was us. We heard it
on the radio. We passed

a weathered sign
that read Men at Wor-

That’s how we knew.



                                “It is the cause, it is the cause…”


What is that
sword like

what does it

from which Basque

was it…
—no, see here

tempered in
the ice brook

among the last
green shoots

that soon
meet winter

which will be

will go to
my head

and from there
to where

what’s done
across the world

is done
in our name

here is a man (o

who speaks:
as I slay

in Aleppo
I slay




Cat at the screen door.
Red mountain heather

cupping last daylight
in its bells. If we notice this

are we not barbarians?
Hare in the penumbra

safe from all but the owl.
We lay a glass bowl over it.

Now safe from everything
but the inside.


Originally from coastal Maine, Bill Carty lives in Seattle, WA. He has received poetry fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Artist Trust, the Richard Hugo House, the Sorting Room, and Jack Straw. He is the author of Huge Cloudy (forthcoming from Octopus Books) and the chapbook Refugium (Alice Blue Books). His poems have recently appeared (or will soon) in the Boston Review, Ploughshares, the Iowa Review, Willow Springs, Conduit, Poetry Northwest, Pleiades, the Volta, Oversound, Pinwheel, Sixth Finch, and other journals. He is an editor at Poetry Northwest.