Carrie Backe
2011 Arizona Senior Poet Laureate

Carrie Backe, 69, lives in Payson. She has won numerous awards in SPL contests. Carrie is a retired teacher, book editor and bookstore owner. Between them, she and her husband have five children and ten grandchildren. Carrie enjoys traveling by motorhome, reading and writing poetry. She finds inspiration in people she meets and places she discovers along the way. Her sign is Aquarius.


The red plaid flannel
With missing buttons
And mended tears,
Soft and bare from countless washings.
His favorite workshirt,
Gently folded and placed in the carton.

The blue and cream stripe,
Very up to date
And handsome.
"Stripes are slimming," I said.
My favorite of his shirts
Carefully folded for the last time.

The red knit polo,
The only one he didn't
Have to take off to
Eat spaghetti!
I wish he were here
To eat spaghetti.

The cowboy shirt
With pearl buttons.
He wore it to a western party.
We tried line dancing,
But ended up just laughing.

I said good-bye, and squeezed his hand
In the hospital,
Though he hadn't spoken in three years.

The shirts are packed,
The carton sealed.
Now, I say good-bye,
And mean it.

Carrie Backe