Jessie Carty


The further south you travel the less variation there is in the slope of the landscape. Maybe if you remembered anything from calculus or geometry you'd measure the various angles of incline, but instead you describe the changes in terms of easy or exhausting. As you start up one moderate elevation that you call steepish you see a break in the trees like a miniature mountain valley. It is the valley of Porta John's. Some blue. Some green. A few look quite fancy with a white finish and attractive doors. You look around for a business sign, but don't see one. The area isn't fenced-in. It's as if there was an event that never quite happened. Or maybe one did, but no one came back to clean it up. You expect to hear music, or the rush of a carnival ride somewhere upwind.

Jessie Carty is the author of seven poetry collections which include the chapbook An Amateur Marriage (Finishing Line, 2012), which was a finalist for the 2011 Robert Watson Prize and her newest full length collection Practicing Disaster which was published by Aldrich Press in 2014. Jessie is a freelance writer, teacher, and curator of the online literary space  “Then and If.” She can be found around the web, especially at

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