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POEM

WHO DO YOU CARRY?

A Poem by Barbara Crooker


Barbara Crooker

Still here I carry my old delicious burdens.
Walt Whitman, Song of the Open Road

I carried my mother, though the burden was light,
as she shed her possessions, moving from family
home to senior apartment to assisted living
to nursing home, tethered by a clear tube
of oxygen, a deep-sea diver. When she swam
away to explore new depths, I let her go.

I carried my son, though the burden was heavy,
a thirty-three-year-old with the mind of a child;
the weight of his future, the one without me,
the rock that weighed me down. I would like
to break free and swim to the surface. I would like
to make sure we don't both drown.

BIO – Barbara Crooker’s poems have appeared in dozens of journals including The Green Mountain, The Beloit Poetry Journal, The Christian Science Monitor, and many others. Her work appears as part of the anthology The Bedford Introduction to Literature. She is the recipient of the Pen and Brush Poetry Prize, The WB Yeats Society of New York Award, the Thomas Merton Poetry of the Sacred Award, and others. Her work has been nominated for forty-four Pushcart Prizes. Her many poetry books include, Les Fauves (C & R Press, 2017), and Small Rain (Virtual Artists Collective, 2014), and her poetry has been read by Garrison Keillor on The Writer’s Almanac

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