We were quite small, still, when you brought the globe
home from wherever you found it, made of tin
and circumscribed by a white plastic stand,
but rolling smoothly as the real world
you must have thought it would teach us about,
like the encyclopedias downstairs,
the dictionaries you taught us to read.
We liked to whirl it, set a tiny dog
on a magnetic base on top of Russia
to slide along, pushed by the arch of frame
as the globe spun: counterclockwise, you said.
We liked the colors, bright in pink and green,
the names of countries that no longer are,
Constantinople that's now Istanbul
again. I doubt that we learned much about
diversity, or how the world was made,
or that we ever thanked you for the globe
we might have asked you for, if we'd known how.
You gave it to us anyway. And now
it's somewhat late to speak of all the things
you gave us anyway, the bright blue seas
between the gaily-colored continents,
the things one can't ask any globe to show:
the path down through our green woods to the river
you called ours too, the meals, the milk, the stones
that mark the boundaries of that earliest realm,
the words, the work, the world you gave to us.
by Catherine Carter
Catherine Carter's first book, The Memory of Gills (LSU Press, 2006) won the 2007 Roanoke-Chowan award from the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association, and was nominated by LSU for several national awards. Raised by wolves on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, Carter lives in Cullowhee with her husband and teaches at Western Carolina University, where she teaches in and coordinates the English education program. Her work has also appeared in Poetry, North Carolina Literary Review, Potomac Review, Faultline, and Main Street Rag, among others, and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize.
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