Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Carolyne Whelan: Compost

First Earth wept, fell thirsty.

I talked to my mother the other day she said don’t worry.

She said shut down the internet.

First Earth groans in summer. My legs burn, the wind snaps as I bicycle past.

Evan says First Earth runs rampant in the heat, in the ghetto we’re trying to leave,

but the honeysuckles can blossom anywhere.

First Earth watched me every day from my window and I never left my room.

First Earth will mulch anything, loves the insulation.

There are two dead rats rotting in my yard, First Earth devours

and I don’t have the stomach or the heart to move them.

The rats inside eat all my energy bars and bread loaves but First Earth has other prey.

My head aches with First Earth. Three aspirin in the morning, four ibuprofen at night. Two B-12’s before eating, one fish oil after.

First Earth counts it out. Watches the swallow, my water intake, my carbs.

First Earth rides the school bus every day. Does not attend.

Is paying too close attention.

First Earth is dirtier than her sister. Where the paths are walked, the hands dig into mud.

I miss the beach of her sister and her First Earth smell.

I used to catch jellyfish with my sister, but think they were already dead.

I still dream of jellyfish stings and crab clinchers.

I talked to my sister on the phone, smell the ocean and think of swing sets, buttercups.

My hair, full of sand.

My father has First Earth wrapped around his finger.

He is invincible.


Copyright 2018 Carolyne Whelan

Carolyne Whelan is a writer, poet, and bicyclist who lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.


Carolyne Whelan on the cover of Bicycle Times.


Carolyne Whelan

One comment on “Carolyne Whelan: Compost

  1. mehboob alam
    May 9, 2018


    Liked by 1 person

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