Mark DeCarteret — My Farewell Season

I’ve been paired up with the earth much too often,
my body, year after year, chummier with its peat-stink–
here, where the ferns are nefariously threaded tight
and the newts safe guard its most comical songs–
but back mattering less, festering, spring after
spring, as if I’m the smuggler’s redolent stash,
being smacked against the butt end of history.
Rocks play dumb. And trees have stopped keeping score,
having been twisted into crosses out next to the parking lot
where the car-tops are worried with crow-crap.
South, there’s a thousand more like me. And North,
they can’t tell us from the voices the wind’s thrown.
Only this river’s insistent, turning out more of itself,
ceaseless and vacant-eyed, only detouring for love,
to catch up on more of the sea and its past lives.
I cock my head, gumming some remedy, growing
simpler by the minute but only when I’m half-in-it.
My mug shots droop down like moss. I’ve the skin-tint of porridge.
And have spent the last hour giving lap dances to tree-stumps.
O, you who’ve fared better, breathe deep for me–
those few who raft air, who are wafted, whisked-off,
be sure to roach-clip my remains and sample some of my plaint
when I’ve bottomed-out, un-noteworthy and furred,
finally nailing my poet-role and rough-drafting towards lore.