Dirty Feet

By Mary Carroll-Hackett

and dirty fingernails, angels, ten thousand of them, living in trailers, canned angels, holy meat, languishing in the Carolina heat, driving up from Kinston, and Shelby, and Bear Grass, and Calico, driving in the vans they bought second hand at Car Coop, headed to the ocean, to Buxton, to Avon, to Duck, for a day, for a week, seeking some sun, and some water. Wings tucked into tank tops, t-shirts from Walmart, glittered with sayings like Hot Stuff, Daddy’s Girl, and Talk to the Hand. They dig angel toes into the hot sand, and pray over pimento cheese sandwiches, and pickles and Tupperware pitchers of tea. On the best days, they run into the sea, holding their dirty-faced babies up to the wide white sky, then hugging them close, whispering into their hair, in ten thousand languages, No matter what they say or do, remember, always remember, you can fly.


Mary Carroll-Hackett earned an MFA from Bennington College, and her work has appeared in numerous journals including Carolina Quarterly, Clackamas Literary Review, Pedestal Magazine, Superstition Review, Drunken Boat, and The Prose-Poem Project, among others. She was a North Carolina Blumenthal Writer and winner of the Willamette Award for Fiction. Her chapbook, The Real Politics of Lipstick, won Slipstream’s 2010 poetry competition, and another, Animal Soul, was released in 2013 from Kattywompus Press. Her full-length collection, If We Could Know Our Bones, was released January 2014 from A-Minor Press. Her newest collection The Night I Heard Everything is forthcoming from FutureCycle Press in 2015. She founded and teaches in the Creative Writing Programs at Longwood University. She also teaches workshops on Writing Through the Chakras at The Porches writers’ retreat in Virginia, and recently joined the low-residency MFA faculty at West Virginia Wesleyan. Mary founded and edits The Dos Passos Review, Briery Creek Press, and The Liam Rector First Book Prize for Poetry. Mary is currently at work on a memoir.