What I Mean to Say Is

When I wake I’m vacant, meaning

still in the abyss, still human,

pulled out of bed by the listing

of things begging for doneness.

I decide to skip another meal, meaning


I feed myself on whisky and dark

corners before sunrise.

The neighbor’s dog is moaning

his wail again, drawing the sun up

out of the dirt, slow and painful, meaning


the day is coming for us, again.

I sink further into the quiet space

I’ve carved out in the corner, hidden

by the cloak of shadow so when you rise

you’ll pass by me, meaning


you don’t really see me at all.

I have no sons or daughters, no mouths

to feed, which is to say we can leave

at any time. Waking up to someone

each day, it’s a beautiful and captive thing, meaning


you want to poke holes in the floorboard,

open all the windows, pull each door

from its hinge.

Carrie Addington’s poems have appeared in Poet Lore, The Collagist, American Literary Review, Waxwing, Gargoyle, and elsewhere. She is the recipient of the Virginia Downs Poetry Award, the American Literary Review Poetry Award, and a Pushcart nomination. She received her MFA from George Mason University and currently lives in Northern Virginia, where she works as a Business Consultant in the fashion/beauty industry and teaches at Northern Virginia Community College. Additionally, she serves on the board of the American Poetry Museum in Washington, D.C.