Poetry: Consistency by Sarah Carey
Sarah Carey’s “Consistency” breaks itself on the idea of the love poem—what changes in marriage that changes love? what changes in ourselves? With wet and gripping imagery and a voice interrogative of all, Carey’s poem creates new, loving, meanings for the word consistency.
Like bacteria that thrive
in moist, warm environments—
behind my ears, under my neck—
I migrated to oases,
comingling inside of men,
whose bloodstreams I’d swim in
against their current and their past
peregrinations, seeking growth,
a mutual destination. Always, I believed
in my good taste, although like trends
in real estate—big houses are out,
bodily spaces in which we can see ourselves, are in—
I stabilized, learned wet marries dry
in the microbiome. I met marriage
as a blessing blended with a curse,
predictability. Even now, grown thick, happy,
I smell hunger in whatever scent
—patchouli, bergamot, jasmine—
infuses my parched lips,
as love after love multiplies, then sheds itself,
a garment worn to the bone.
Oh, alluring exfoliator! You were a state
I had to know, to leave,
to return to heartbreak as disease
poured out in a flood of masculine
or feminine notes. Later I’d learn
what I loved most was gender fluid,
and perfectly healthy.
“Let’s go for fro-yo,” I say
to my husband of 23 years,
on a day like any other in hot, humid Florida.
The purplest passion flower fades
in fields where we no longer go.
When chocolate and vanilla soft-serve
swirls to settle ice-cold, smooth, content
within its dish, I know why
my taste bud cells crave soothing
sweetness, live cultures—good for us—
spoon to mouth consistency dispensed.
Sarah Carey is a graduate of the Florida State University creative writing program. She is the author of two poetry chapbooks, The Heart Contracts (Finishing Line Press, 2016) and Accommodations, winner of the 2018 Concrete Wolf Chapbook Award (Concrete Wolf Poetry Series, 2019.) Her work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in Glass Poetry Journal, Superstition Review, Atticus Review, SWWIM Every Day, Palette Poetry, Carolina Quarterly and elsewhere. She works in veterinary medical communications and lives in Gainesville, Florida, with her husband and her constantly-counter-surfing black Lab. Visit her at sarahkcarey.com or on Twitter @SayCarey1.