Rob Carney (MFA, Eastern Washington University; PhD, University of Louisiana-Lafayette) is an Associate Professor of English and Literature at Utah Valley State College. His writing has appeared in or is forthcoming from journals such as Mid-American Review, Northwest Review, Quarterly West, and others. His collection New Fables, Old Songs won the 2002 Dream Horse Press National Chapbook Award, and his collection Boasts, Toasts, and Ghosts, winner of the 2003 Pinyon Press Poetry Book Prize, received the Utah Book Award for Poetry in April 2004.
After the End,
the last crane, remaining tiger, final shark
will go on living.
Somewhere a woman says, "Look,"
and the man lifts his eyes from his fish line,
sees what she sees, white as a ghost,
flying by and into memory.
They don't know she's pregnant yet,
don't know they're the crane's last witnesses,
but their three hearts beat and widen like wings,
and when the baby grows, he'll always be searching the sky.
Like the tiger searches. Like the shark,
in its sleepless patrol, seeks more than food;
its mind as deep and old as seven oceans
has never learned, or needed to learn, alone.
Is it better or worse—hoping to find another?
Better or worse—knowing there's only you?
The final tiger can't answer this.
For a while more, there will be roaring.
Then the heartbroken silence of the woods.
This Is One Sexy Planet
Today the rain is dancing,
and the Earth's green eyes
say she's happy in its arms.
The Earth's whole body says it:
tequila dancing in the cactus
and salt layered into the rock;
tulips touched open by April,
then spring kissed out of any holding back
by May. The Earth's whole body shows it:
the moon in its close, slow dancing
so oceans can dance with the shore,
so sea gulls can be the way the shoreline
dances with the sky.
The Earth's whole body knows it:
water and beans making coffee,
eyes and eyes making sparks,
sparks and darkness making camping
a thing we like to do.
Go fishing or don't go fishing,
but don't try denying that a river is a song,
sometimes quiet, sometimes white
with wild abandon. Don't try denying
what the wind wants to do with your hair.
Or that leaves dance green with the sun
or red and gold with autumn.
Or that yesterday dances with tomorrow
and we're all of us moving
through the spaces in between….
I know a beautiful woman, a woman like music
always about to begin,
a woman who loves loving.
If I told her "The rain is dancing," she'd agree.
Some Things Have One Meaning, Some Things Don't:
"I do," for instance, is conditional;
the truth, it turns out, is political;
and equal means that most have equally less.
But words are like elastic, and unless
you're careful not to stretch too far, they won't
I know what it is to be in love,
and no one has the right to disapprove
of who I love. They might, but they'd be wrong.
What else? Our lives are loaned to us. Not long.
And not to pile up money. Not for power.
And how we pay that loan back does matter:
with interest, yes—with being interested;
by promising and keeping promises;
by caring more and minding much less instead.