Issue > Poetry
Caroline Plasket

Caroline Plasket

Caroline Plasket’s poems can be found in The Atticus Review, Spoon River Poetry Review, Compose, WomenArts Quarterly Journal, IDK, and Stirring, among others. She was a fall 2016 mentee in the AWP Writer to Writer Program. She lives with her family in the Cincinnati area.

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec Drank Heavily

In the rehab facility there is a woman who repeats
her words as if they are paintings
folded into themselves when the paint was still
wet and then unfolded to make something

new, something unheard, and she can't
sit still during sharing time on family day. You are
a mural when you are juxtaposed with her thin body,
but you are small when, later, I hold your hand

across the table while you cry, while your tears move,
black down your cheeks in
the beautiful way watercolor runs. It was
Lautrec who said he tried to depict the true

and the not ideal. The counselor
told us to talk openly with the world about addiction in order
to erase the stigma. It reminds me of the time
my sister stepped on the kitten and killed it

accidentally. The box it went into was small, and inside of it
you wouldn't guess there to be a dead kitten. I think you must want
to see what you look like pressed against yourself.
When I was young I couldn't see

the way you held yourself, like swill, against the light; a hand turns
pink when a flashlight shines from the other side, I used
to like the way the veins on your hands protruded,
when they hung at your sides. We have crowded ourselves

around you in this small cafeteria
as if your lies are the center
of a snail's shell; they have gone
nowhere and made everything I notice

when we turn to walk the way back out we can
see everything twice. This is the way
a museum keeps the same
paintings hung and each time I see

them they are familiar, yet there's something to discover,
like people, or how Lautrec was known to use
violent colors to express strange
personalities; he said ugliness had its own beauty.


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