Curly hair wild thing hides in the raspberry bushes, hands clasped over mouth to hide snickers as the crow circles above. Her caw mimics the feral heartbeat inside a shelter of bone, inside a shelter of tangled vines. No one thinks to hide inside the safety of thorns. No one has found her, she thinks she has become, at last, invisible.
Carrie Elizabeth Penrod
3 Questions for Carrie
What was your process for creating this work?
I was working on my thesis, a collection of poems about my mother’s death. I’m a very brief poet and originally wrote the final stanza, the haiku, to stand on its own. While talking with my director Lamar Wilson, a brilliant poet and person, he encouraged me to further explore the feeling and the scene I was trying to set. It was the push I needed to create the version today.
What is the significance of the form/genre you chose for this work?
I’ve always been drawn to haikus and haibuns fell in line shortly after. Short-form is something I am naturally comfortable with, especially when it comes to powerful lines. I always worry I’ll muddy up a poem by dragging the length out. I decided to keep this form, this length, because for me it illustrates the shortness of life. Things and people cannot continue forever. Honor their brevity.
What is the significance of this work to you?
It really signifies the loss of my childhood and the level of my grief while my mother was sick, and the feeling of wanting to escape from the reality and difficulty of being a caretaker. The desire to be a child again and to disappear into the raspberry bushes is one I don’t think has left me, or ever will leave me, especially when faced with heavy emotions and situations. I was able to explore my grief and the loss of my mother, how I was no longer the child of our relationship, but I had become the mother as well.
Carrie Elizabeth Penrod received her MFA from Mississippi University for Women. She currently lives in Indiana with her cats. Her work can be found in Anti-Heroin Chic, Sad Girls Club Lit, Prometheus Dreaming, Button Poetry's Instagram, and corn stalks.