“Totem” by Robert Carr

Heel to head he’s kissing my shield
of scars. A pink stitch, garden shears
that barely missed slim tendon.
Long-healed puckers along a hairless

calf, a satin almond – my knee taken
on tongue, transforming whisper.
Bending, he breathes redirected vein,
shaft of cock, nail clipper scar,

mole proudly snipped-off. Bluish dent,
pocked animal eye appendectomy. Neck,
flawed smile below my Adam’s apple –

fist of keys, stitched chin, a search
inside my bee-stung mouth, grazing
ridges under lips, bumpy lining, bite marks.


Robert Carr is the author of Amaranth a chapbook published in 2016 by Indolent Books and a 2017 Pushcart Prize-nominated poet. His poetry has appeared in the Bellevue Literary Review, Radius Literary Magazine, and other publications. Forthcoming work includes Crab Orchard, Rattle, and The Sonora Review. He lives with his husband Stephen in Malden, Massachusetts, and serves as an associate poetry editor for Indolent Books. He is also Deputy Director for the Bureau of Infectious Disease and Laboratory Sciences in Massachusetts. Poetry, book reviews, and upcoming events can be found at robertcarr.org.