Frost Heaves

In another orbit the rover uncovers
the familiar slow, unshowy power
of water. It submits to change, sinks,


draws more of itself upward, builds
a billow below the seen. Ice bubbles
the plains on Mars just as it ripples


New England roads, where a broken
axle is a missing forest, the missing forest
evidence of force, a refusal to tolerate


the long way round, density, mystery.
So the stranger and the landscape converge.
Their surfaces break into each other.

Carolyn Oliver’s poems appear or are forthcoming in the Massachusetts Review, Indiana Review, the Cincinnati Review, Radar Poetry, Beloit Poetry Journal, 32 Poems, Southern Indiana Review, Cherry Tree, FIELD, and elsewhere. She is the winner of the Laurence Goldstein Prize from Michigan Quarterly Review, the Writer’s Block Prize in Poetry, and the Frank O’Hara Prize from the Worcester Review, where she now serves as coeditor. Carolyn lives in Massachusetts with her family.