Nancy Naomi Carlson

After I Xeroxed the Sky

Volume 14:4, Fall 2013
Prose Poem Issue

After I Xeroxed the Sky

—for S.H.

After I xeroxed the sky, I gave copies to those enclosed by the dark. The crew of a Russian submarine asked for dozens, if they could be spared. One went to Henny, bed-ridden for weeks, waiting for broken bones to fuse. The widow down the street asked for three—to cover each mirror’s dazed reflection. The dying kept begging for more. The copies seemed less than perfect to my discerning eye—sun a cat’s eye shade of canary, rather than gold, and  what was to be the pure blue of heaven seemed a withered shade. Most would not guess that white-out was used for clouds.  Only the purists—those sweet suicides—could tell.



Nancy Naomi Carlson is the recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Maryland Arts Council, and the Arts & Humanities Council of Montgomery County. Carlson is author of four books of poems and translator of six books from French to English, including An Infusion of Violets (Seagull Books, 2019), recently named a "New & Noteworthy" title by the New York Times Book Review. A senior translation editor for Tupelo Press, her work has appeared in APR, The Georgia Review, The Paris Review and Poetry. Her website: To read more by this author: Summer 2005 issue