[Table of Contents]


Mark DeCarteret


Those years you feared falling
in the house nobody slept in
the role of the clock slipped away.
You slid crumbs across placemats
while those bandits, their fingers
an inventory of malice and carelessness,
took measurements, made repairs,
and later, stole your diamond
while you wrote out the check.

Now, you've lost the tube to your neck
while you mimic the nurses,
displaying the tumble of pills
you've kept alive in your mouth.
Here, the bandits are gifted and spotless,
plopped from the staunchest of symmetries
where even this breath was foreseeable,
the grimace at the mention of sponge bath.

As a baby you dangled me
over the sink, the whimsy of bubbles
then dried me on the counter,
patting me smaller and smaller
into ciphers, the start of a burp.
You can still tell where I've been
by looking into my eyes.

I keep examining my watch,
a thin coat of dust on its face.
Today, it was the house you were born.
Tomorrow, the park where he proposed.
Your death's just the beginning—
demolition will reside in my heart
until there's nothing to sort out
but myself, the actual charge.


The same "diamond" lost in a super market many years before. As my grandmother wheeled her cart through the dairy section. Something shiny going off in the air. Or so someone once told her. It would seem that like the stars, words accomplish some of their best work, once they've been quashed, devastated. Why else would we continue to fixate on this emptiness? Other than to meet up with something else of significance.