Carla Schwartz; Sweet Potato Harvest & String Theory

Sweet Potato Harvest

For the sweet potato on the counter

sprouting roots like a medusa,

dig a hole and bury it

with the rest of your dead —

one root for each enumerated grief:





The leaves begin to blush.

Vines twist and entwine

the fence you built to fend off critters.


Irrigate all summer with a timer,

so you don’t have to attend

on days lean of rain,

and so that ants, too, might enjoy

a bath, while you free yourself

to date, and make an effort this time to draw lines

from the clouds, contrails to your new life,

like the ones your ex sketched so exquisitely on paper,

and wasn’t that potato hers to start with?


When you dig, don’t be surprised if you hit stone.

Plunge your hands into soil, and draw up

your sweet bounty.


String Theory

I heard that a string theorist

named Joe died today,

and I thought of you,

as I do from time to time.


He was apparently

a bit of a nobody,

unless you are an expert

in string theory, like you.


I wondered if you had met Joe,

or collaborated with him

or not.


I’ve heard the term string theory

since grad school,

but never understood it,

never took the time.


We might both have understood at one time,

but you chose the geometric maze traveling, not me.


My string theory might have read something like this:

When you want to remember,

what you try to remember,

when you stare at the bow

tied around your finger.


Some time ago,

back when we hadn’t heard of global warming,

you told me your memory was going.

Your father forgot too,

until he forgot to be angry.


Once a year,

a card from you

lands in my mailbox.

That hasn’t changed.


I still have the dress you made for me

in grad school.

Colors to brighten a gray day —

the Crayola gold of sun,

forest green,

navy blue,

and soil brown.


You hemmed with piping

like an expert,

your first try.


I look like a festival

when I wear those threads.


I won’t say,

I miss you like hell,

but I miss you.


I wonder what story, if any,

I will hear about you,

when you die.



Carla Schwartz is a poet, filmmaker, photographer, and blogger. Her poems have appeared in Aurorean, ArLiJo, Fourth River, Fulcrum, Bluefifth, Common Ground, Cactus Heart, Long Island Review, Mom Egg, Switched-on Gutenberg, Gyroscope, Naugatuck River, Paddock, Solstice, SHARKPACK, Triggerfish, Sweet Tree, Varnish, and Ibbetson Street, among others. Her poem Gum Surgery was anthologized in City of Notions, A Boston Poetry Anthology. Her second collection of poetry, Intimacy with the Wind, is available from Finishing Line Press or Find her debut collection, Mother, One More Thing (Turning Point, 2014) on  Her CB99videos youtube channel has 1,700,000+ views. Learn more at, or or find her @cb99videos. 

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