Jessie's poems and non-fiction have appeared in publications such as The Main Street Rag, Iodine Poetry Journal andThe Northville Review. Her first chapbook, At the A & P Meridiem, was released by Pudding House Publications in 2009. Her first e-chapbook/2nd print chapbook, The Wait of Atom, was released by Folded Word Press in November 2009. Her first full length collection Paper House will be released by Folded Word Press in March 2010. Jessie works as a freelance editor, writer, and writing coach/teacher. She is also the editor of Shape of a Box, YouTube's first literary magazine. Jessie received her MFA from Queens University of Charlotte. She is a member of AWP, Charlotte Writer’s Club, NCWN, NC Poetry Society and will serve on the new board for the Poetry Council of NC. You can find her around the web but most often at her blog http://jessiecarty.wordpress.com.
From Jessie's first chapbook “At the A & P Meridiem” (Pudding House, 2009)
Outside the pan, then inside its lip,
the rhythm of the dish rag
invokes a spell of domesticity
as the grease clumps
down the silver walls of the sink
and into the growl of the garbage disposal,
all hungry like a spirit animal.
I set the oven to preheat at 450
while I chop up a fruit salad.
Out the sliding glass door,
I toss rings of oranges
puckered like over tanned skin
into a brown compost pile.
Improvising, I prepare
a pot pie of mixed, frozen
vegetables and sliced chicken.
Here is a dash of salt, a turn
of the pepper mill, a finger
making a furrow across the top.
I taste the raw beginning.
I set a timer for 45 minutes.
As I wipe down the counter
and scrub up the sink, I stop
once in a while to flick
the light inside the stove—
From – The Wait of Atom, her 2nd chapbook, Folded Word Press 2009
(first appeared in Wild Goose Poetry Review)
The Wait of Atom
It wasn’t that he wouldn’t wait for her
or not even that he didn’t want
to wait for her, he just couldn’t
stand still. She couldn’t stand it,
the way his eyes became nearly crossed,
how he jangled the change in his pocket.
She’d complained before.
To keep his face from registering
annoyance, he began mentally listing
the noble gases by weight: lowest to highest,
using his hands in his pockets to count each one.
He could do this without moving his lips.
His face relaxed even though she was still
transferring her personal items
from a brown purse to a black one.
She had explained, on more than one occasion,
how her purse had to match her shoes. How
his belt should match his shoes and he’d learned
to keep his eyes focused on a point
just over her shoulder while he let his brain
scan the periodic table of elements.
Her upcoming full length book Paper House will be out March 2010 from Folded Word Press.
Fold a sheet of striped
notebook paper in half.
Draw the shape of a house.
Trim the edges to form a roof.
Where you want windows,
cut a flap.
Place pieces of furniture
or people to peer at
when you peep
through the paper windows.
On the first floor, in the kitchen,
her stick arms. She can almost
touch the ceiling.
She’s closest to the door.
Above her is a bedroom
a girl looks out a window.
She’s next to a desk
with her arms out straight
as if she was trying
3rd grade calisthenics. To the girls’
right is another room
with a bed, a lamp. Downstairs,
next to the kitchen,
Dad lies on the couch wearing boxers.
Black and white can’t show
his cigarette dripping red-tipped ash
onto the carpet, forming a hole.
From a project in progress. Ology. First appeared in Blue Fifth Review
Far and Wee
Breathing on trees was my hobby. I’d sit on the browned pine needles, leaning my head against the bark and I’d suck in as much air as I could through my nose then I’d let it go with my chin pointed up to the branches. I’d pretend I was blowing up a balloon as I willed my carbon to keep the trees growing up and out.
I was never good at making balloons. Impatience perhaps? The first long breathes are almost futile. The balloon just spurts the air back at you, but if you keep pushing past that the plastic will eventually give and expand from the center rounding out.
Mom was the best at tying the ends of the balloons but my brother would do in a pinch. Like when we were waiting in the car once and to o entertain us, my brother blew up a balloon for each of us. My sister was in the front seat, bouncing her balloon back and forth against the windshield but I had taken a dare from my brother. I put the balloon under my shirt to pretend I was pregnant. I was rubbing my new rotund belly, saying, “Feel it kick!” When it popped, shrinking against the skin of my stomach it pulled the flesh up and in.
From an untitled project in progress but first appeared in The Dead Mule
When the contractor began flattening the fields I had sold,
he turned over a small cache of bones.
From my back porch I saw him remove his hat, pull
his browning hand across his forehead.
He tossed the bones into the woods and leveled the spot,
prepping it for concrete.
In the dark of early evening I scooped up the bones. They were light
like bread and cold from the wet earth.
I warmed them in the oven of my palms, wondering if once
they were worn down by hours leaning into an axe,
or perhaps from grinding against a mortar to resize corn. They
could have been the foundation of skin, hope and tendon;
they could have belonged to the builders of pillars, of stone
circles, of sacrificial mounds, of children.
As I laid them down, I saw a body loose and those bones poking
through the skin like the skin was shale;
as the meat of the body moved down the shaft of the bone
like a candle melting on stone.