Anne M. Carson

Text of Anne M. Carson's poem, 'Bigger Than Expected' in full justification. The same poem is below.

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(Anne M. Carson's poem is reproduced in a text format below to be accessible to readers using screen readers. - the Editors)


You and I — part way into the long
laze of a Sunday lie-in, inhabiting
the space opened up by a night
under the same sheet, holding
hands, boundaries softened.

Lily the girl-woman — protégé,
friend — here for sleep-over, snores
in Epilum-sodden slumber a few
rooms down. She's meek but
shaped like a hausfrau. Her
sturdy, no-nonsense body, falls
easily and hard, blooms enormous
Rorschach bruises of magenta and
yellow. She's sixty, going-on-five
when stressed.

Twenty years have allowed
measures of deliverance — me from
childlessness, she from
orphanhood. She has granted me
sorority membership, shades of
maternity, part carer, part general
factotum, an ordinary old
dogsbody role, occasions of
complacent complaint like
everyone else.

This is the first time you have both
slept over on the same night. You
open the curtains and light spills
over the sill, pours over us. Here
we are, you say, waiting for our
bigger than expected baby to wake.


Anne M. Carson is a writer from Melbourne, Australia who has been published in the USA and widely in Australia. Last year she won the Martha Richardson and the Stones Winery Poetry Prizes. She teaches creative writing and is currently preparing her first collection of poems for publication.