As Without as Within

As Without as Within

Erika Kari McCarthy

As Without as Within


Benjamin D. Carson

I wonder what he was thinking the last time he dove into that river

headfirst like a bombardier, a kamikaze, a spirit wind, the tip of a

spear. Launching himself off of that boat, the sun hot on his wide

and strong shoulders, was it joy he felt? As he sailed through the air,

arms stiff to his sides, was he smiling, anticipating the coolness of the

water, the tug of the current, as it pulled at his chest, enveloped his

thighs and feet?

What was it he thought as his head hit the sandbar hiding just beneath the silt and the waves, as his neck twisted obscenely, backward and up, his distorted smile now buried under the weight of his body as it drove his head down and down and down and into the grit? What must it be like, that first moment of unfeeling?

How light, I wonder, must be this numbing drift, the sense that life is just barely the weight of thought, a head perched on a mountain of flesh, floating unmoved, hearing, seeing, and knowing that what nourishes it now comes through the tip of a straw.

Benjamin D. Carson lives with his dog Dora on the South Shore of Massachusetts. His creative work has appeared or is forthcoming in over a dozen publications, including Rumble Fish Quarterly, Cactus Heart, Yellow Medicine Review, Poetry24, Poetry Porch, Dunes Review, and October Hill Magazine.

Erika Kari McCarthy is an observer, obsessor, and creator of bodies. She received her BFA in Studio Fine Arts at Rochester Institute of Technology in 2018 and now works as the Assistant Manager of the Byrdcliffe Artist Residency in Woodstock, NY. Her work is driven by material exploration, scientific inquiry, and the repetition of rituals and compulsions. While retaining ties to her origins in upstate New York, Erika currently lives and works as a nomad in no specific geographic location.