Grief Map

Calf Canyon: Poems

Sarah McCartt-Jackson

The Mineral Point Poetry Series, no. 10 • Release Date: November 13, 2018

Print ISBN: 978-1-948559-21-8 • EPUB ISBN: 978-1-948559-24-9 • Kindle ISBN: 978-1-948559-22-5 • PDF ISBN: 978-1-948559-23-2

Brain Mill Press offers Calf Canyon for direct sale in ebook and trade paperback. Ebook buyers receive access to MOBI (Kindle), EPUB, and PDF files, offered without DRM restrictions. Print book buyers receive a physical copy of the book as well as access to the ebook files in all formats.

The poems of Calf Canyon transport us to deeply personal spaces, but they also remind us of shared mysteries. We’re called to witness the beginning of life and its too-quick terminus; the rush of passion and its aftermath; the silences that deepen like canyons over the wounds we carry. These are complex and necessary meditations, and McCartt-Jackson brings them, beautifully, to life.

—Kiki Petrosino, author of Witch Wife


Kentucky poet, folklorist, and educator Sarah McCartt-Jackson has been published by Indiana Review, Journal of American Folklore, The Maine Review, Tidal Basin Review, NANO Fiction, Bellingham Review, and others. She is the recipient of an Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship from the Kentucky Arts Council, and has served as artist-in-residence for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Shotpouch Cabin through Oregon State University. She is the author of Stonelight, which won the 2017 Airlie Prize, and two chapbooks, Vein of Stone and Children Born on the Wrong Side of the River, which won the 2015 Mary Ballard Poetry Prize. She works on a farm in Louisville.

AN EXCERPT from Calf Canyon: Poems by Sarah McCartt-Jackson

© Sarah McCartt-Jackson, 2018


Calf Canyon
| Crossing |


I am trying to tell my unborn daughter a story. It is an old story

that hangs on the spinneret tip of a spider’s abdomen


the spider’s heart a bruise,

each chamber a stitch that nicks the copper blood

as it rushes through, each valve sighing out

like the hush thathung


lodged in everyone’s lungs

a silence stacked between plates on the drying rack

a thrum that vibrated the blades of his kitchen knives.

I had to hide under the trailer steps,

the jaw of the shotgun I unloaded

when I heard his truck tires coming,

the unspent slugs plunked in the toilet tank.


My unborn child’s story begins as the terrible budding star of a black widow,

her red eyes a speck glinting in the swamp cooler:




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