Caroline Plasket

Vulture 1810–75 Antoine-Louis Barye French

Come Inside

We left the house where we lived
thirteen years, where I sat split–seam
on our bedroom floor and pushed a child

from my body like Old Faithful
sputtering warmth just when you are expecting it.
These new walls do not know my insides. I have not stopped

driving to that old house. I have not stopped looking…
Yesterday, I found beauty in the vultures,
hung like ornaments on dead trees. Spreading

their wings, black and seraphic. Reflective
like the surface of coffee. I thought this is something
I could teach myself. How we honor repetition, how

we can turn the picture upside down to pretend
the sea were the sky and the sky were an endless
ocean, where we see that they are really no different.

How, as a child, I hung upside down off of the couch
and convinced myself that the floor was the ceiling
and the ceiling the place under our feet we trust to be

there when we take the next step, how I created
a whole world in reverse where we must lift our feet
to step through doorways, but understood it to be better,

for there was more room for our heads. How I sat split-seam
on the bedroom floor of that old house and it were
as-if my feet were through the roof and my head hung at the ground

and when you pull, it doesn’t matter if you pull from below or above
so long as it comes out the way you need it to. I have found beauty
in the vultures, even the ripping of flesh, because you have to

understand what is coming out, you have to see
what was on the inside come outside so you know
how it struggles—with what kind of mouth it eats.

Caroline Plasket’s work has been published or is forthcoming in Pleiades, Hobart, Copper Nickel, The Laurel Review, Cherry Tree, The Cortland Review, Atticus Review, Threadcount Magazine, and elsewhere. She was previously a mentee in the AWP Writer to Writer Program. She lives in Northern Kentucky.

Vultures on a Tree 1810–75 Antoine-Louis Barye French

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Spring 2021