Mark DeCarteret


am I the stamp
that amounted to little
but ink I’d stiff-
armed into fits
of bad karma
or the letter
I kettle-steamed open
its spit I’d long been
attempting to mate
those past crimes
I’d made up—
see map (pp. 15)
that brook of my childhood
looping into option one
or essing into too
tense of a setting—
these pools of docile symbols
o may it all rot with the story!
I spoke to the good cop about
through a stocking
I’d dampened with Pam
then cut & pasted
to the trapdoor
more psalms amply
saturated in lamplight?


lets me in on
all I withdrew from
while I overslept—
as if under some pelt
or an era of forts &
oars parting water
a trap for everything
even this yellowish
wash of raised voices—
telling me how it’s
more or less snow
but how there’s
something a little
rundown about it
almost unreal how
the sun hits it—
foils its cover
this foot & that
detouring & oft-
put on another
while one or two
round out from
the feeder to roost
where the night’s
stored in whitest
shadow ‘pon shadow—
all that’s left of
our window’s light
fed up with its
own afterthought

Mark DeCarteret's 6th book For Lack of a Calling was published last year by Nixes Mate Books.
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