By Michael Carr


A student asks me why Dante
wandered off the straight path,
and I tell him that midway
through his life he might find
the answer.

Now, it would just be esoteric.

I wake at three to the sound
of Nathan’s double ear infection,
and it’s my turn to soothe.
Your weary body steals
much needed rest while I rock
Nathan’s scorching soul, quelled
by Tylenol, back to a fitful sleep.

In the morning, you mock
your body in front of the mirror,
and I counter with words of wonder
only to be reminded

that I don’t understand, that wonder
is not what is needed.

From the silence between us, comes
a flurry of footfalls as Matthew scampers
in to the bedroom to tell us
that he dreams of trains

and wants chocolate chips
in his pancakes.

Reading Inferno essays later tonight,
you will open two beers, hand
me one, and I will see the exhaustion
of the day. We will hang on the same
lines as we binge on The West Wing,
fed up with Trump, then move
back to our bed where, under goose
down, we’ll remind ourselves why

we’d traverse hellscapes to see
the other well.


Over linguica and saffron rice,
I tell you that Chris, the SEAL
returned to school today.

You know of my admiration,
and you ask how he was as my student.
He was always a dreamer and aware.

The linguica, spicy and bought
for you in Massachusetts, opens
our sinuses with laughs.

I tell you a story about Chris,
the SEAL. When he wrote
his final novella, he misspelled

tough, adding an e.

I asked him why.

I did that so you’d know it was me.

The linguica done, I take pen
to paper, the memory wafting
back of hearing

Chris’s story of a broken
ankle one week before graduating
from training.

He would repeat the grueling work.

I asked him why, and he said,

I did that so you’d know it was me.

michael Carr

About the Author:

Michael Carr is a husband, father, high school teacher, writer and EMT from New Jersey. He graduated from Middlebury College’s Bread Loaf School of English with an MA in Literature. His work was selected for the 2015 Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference where he studied under Afaa Michael Weaver. He has appeared in Welter and Gold Cross magazines. When not teaching or writing, Carr is the President of a non-profit that focuses on bringing emergency vehicles to East Africa. You can follow that work at http://www.eastafricaambulance.org