Jan Carroll


Jan Carroll works in publishing and is also a massage therapist. Her work has appeared in Bellowing Ark Press, Cider Press Review, California Quarterly, and Borderlands.


Calling Deep

Deep calls to deep in the noise of the waterfall.
Riverforce driven by ploys of the free-for-all

gracefully traces the arcspan of free fall and
splashes like crashed last remarks, like a reprimand

plunges you under. The deluge disorients you,
floundering down where few rays streak the depths of rude

awakening. Rake up a prayer, lust for breath, for lung-
inspiration to squander, the air cheating death by one

rise like surprise to the surface, to noisiness.
Thunder as hundreds of worshipping cascades dress

noise like the poise of an echo precariously
hung on each rung, an elective sound synergy

deep calling deep
calling deep.


Walking Music

An odd octave of juncos kept pace with me as I plodded along
a stretch of the river trail. Spurting from tree to tree,
the round black notes of their heads kept catching my eye
over and over again, leapfrogging in inky relay, a melody appearing
then disappearing on a branchy score, accompanying me

as if they were dolphins or porpoises arcing in the water
alongside some ketch, assuming this is the party, spelling out “Free!”
with their bodies and their swimming, movement-saying how maybe
we all could learn to thread the above, the below.

Or maybe they meant somehow to mimic
those white balls bouncing above the lyrics
on Sing Along with Mitch, 1960s TV, that helped you come to grips
with the gist of the music so that everyone could give voice
to at least the catchy chorus, though you felt your way along
the verses too. Having kenned the first one, the rest fell into place,
and you thought, being a child, that through the miracle
of this broadcast, the whole world might just be singing
with you.


the poem i

at the point
where i’m in
my life now
there are more
funerals than weddings.

there are wide
swaths of what
i wouldn’t’ve
chosen if
only i’d known better.

i am gone
down a path
that is al-
most there yet
plants its flag farther off.

on this edge
i hang on,
stunned to be
near fire
feeding on the gist, pitch

out what i
still have left
that just might
find you there
faltering— not always

has it been
in the end
the poem i
was trying
so hard to put to life.


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  1. I love the deep to deep stuff! Just this year I learned where that phrase comes from. It’s really powerful. Keep up the writing!

  2. Beautiful poems, every one a pleasure to read, so glad I finally got to see some! Keep writing Jan, lovely.

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