My Chocolate Sarcophagus

by Claudia Carlson
A Hole in the Ocean

Claudia Carlson, a New Yorker since age 22, was born in Bloomington, Indiana. Her children’s picture book, Avi the Amubulance Goes to School, written and illustrated by her to help promote the life-saving work of Magen David Adom, is available now, as are her two earlier books of poetry from Marsh Hawk Press, POCKET PARK (2013) and THE ELEPHANT HOUSE (2007). Until her death she was married to playwright and lyricist, James Racheff, had two daughters, Natalie and Caitlin, and one very companionable dachshund, Sadie.

“The twenty-three poems in Claudia Carlson’s Chocolate Sarcophagus combine raw courage and absolute beauty. Powerful, poignant, ecstatically lyrical, and beautifully crafted, they present us with an unflinching contemplation of mortality that never descends into sentimentality. In these poems, Carlson brings us an important message from the edge of life.”
— Mary Mackey

“We each bring all our possibles/to the last hour,” writes Claudia Carlson in this end-of-life collection, My Chocolate Sarcophagus. She is wise enough to know, as she allows herself to be ravished by the taste of chocolate that “taste is life.” And like her favorite chocolates, there’s a bittersweet taste to these poems, whose muse is death in a Lamborghini. Claudia has brought all her possibles to us here, in this exquisite, heartbreaking work.”
— Sharon Dolin

“The poems … are at times so profound, without purporting to be so, that they leave me both uplifted and shaken. In part this is not because of how stark fate is, as I now better know from reading this collection; rather, it’s because of the utter command of language Carlson has brought to bear on a circumstance that is universal yet is so personal I am left breathless. This is truly astonishing writing.”
— Burt Kimmelman

“My Chocolate Sarcophagus invites us to understand what it means to grapple with the knowledge that nothing “can ease/this hard dark wrenching.” Despite cancer’s presence drifting through this collection like “a draft/from a window that never fully closes,” this encounter is not humorless, or without the sensual pleasures of sweets and sex, and how “flinging ourselves in the light we forget everything/but our incandescence.”
— Lisa Mangini

Buy Now

See the beautiful remembrance by Paul Pines: Her Chocolate Sarcophagus: Claudia’s Gift.