December 7, 2018 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION

Tim Foster photo



Carolynn Kingyens




The Abyss



Once on the A Train,

an old woman with milky eyes

stared at me for too long,

and I remembered Nietzsche’s warning:


If you gaze long into an abyss,

the abyss will also gaze into you.


So I said an inward prayer,

and did not look back

when I got off at West 4th.


In New York,

we have salves, oils, candles

and trinkets for everything –

bad vibes, the evil eye,

generational curses.

In the Bronx – La Santa Muerte.


Today, I will meditate

on Muhammad –

the kind bodega owner,

who calls Lucy,

the store’s gray and white cat,

up from the dark cellar,

where it’s been sleeping, or killing,

so my daughter can pet her;

so my daughter can smile.


Tomorrow, I will open my eyes

in anticipation of a new morning.


I will turn and marvel

at your eclipsed soul-body

still sleeping.






And so the Bunny



I buried my motives under the moss tree,

next to the Brooks Brothers box

holding the bones of the baby bunny

our daughters found years ago,

one summer morning,

floating stiff atop the pool.


Our eagle-eye daughter

spotted it first from the kitchen door;

thinking it was a wad of hair,

and then, a fallen bird’s nest.


You skimmed the dead baby bunny

out of the pool for us;

laying it before bare feet

in our circle of curiosity.


The girls insisted on a proper burial;

so your mother, a retired florist,

made two small bouquets

from the garden – black-eyed Susan,

morning glory, a few white hydrangeas,

tying it together with twine from the shed –

a bouquet for each granddaughter

to lay on the bunny’s grave.


Your father said a prayer,

and I recited a poem

that never became a poem:


God’s breath is inside you

and so the bunny.






Carolynn Kingyens

Carolynn Kingyens lives with her beautiful family in NYC. Her poems have been featured in Boxcar Poetry Journal, Glass Poetry Journal, Word Riot, The Potomac, Schuylkill Valley Journal, Across the Margin, and The Orange Room Review. Her poem, “Washing Dishes” was nominated for Best New Poets by Silenced Press.

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