Alternative Energies (Anatomies)

by Jessie Carty

– after a line from the movie adaptation of “Cloud Atlas”

Nobody says anything.

To tell her would be an admission
of how we gave careful
consideration to the spaces
on her body not occupied
by clothing; to her tanned
and then alternatively lined skin;
to the ratchet of her spine.

We assume she doesn’t know
about the tiny tag sticking up
from her coral-colored tank top
even though we would feel
its rasp against our skin
because our flesh tarps
across our bones, collecting water;

because “survival undermines
our courage,” and we stay quiet,
tugging our shirts and shorts,
uncomfortable in our skin.
We wonder if there’s any chance
she left the tag out as a diversion,
hoping we would see it

instead of her ankles
which she thinks resemble
too much a gear. Or, that we would see it
in place of the wide arc her arms make
like turbines when she forgets
to hide her hands in hip pockets.
Maybe the slip of cloth,

only big enough for a size
indicator, is an invitation
to direct her bare, solar-drinking
elbow towards the wall
where wardrobe adjustments are –
if not hidden – are at least
on the periphery

like freckles underneath
your chin
as sparks.


Jessie Carty is the author of six poetry collections which include the chapbook An Amateur Marriage (Finishing Line, 2012), which was a finalist for the 2011 Robert Watson Prize and her newest collection, MORPH which was published by Sibling Rivalry Press in the fall of 2013. Jessie is a freelance writer, teacher, and editor. She can be found around the web, especially at


Filed under Poetry

2 responses to “Alternative Energies (Anatomies)

  1. jessiecarty

    Thrilled to be a part of Hawaii Pacific 🙂 Aloha to anyone who wants to chat about my poems with me.

  2. Pingback: News and Plans! | Jessie Carty

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s