Mark DeCarteret


No longer mired in memories of Rome—
its wines, miracle-red, lemons, sky-smelling,
and domes they’ve long-modeled after heaven—
the sun, brimming in silk flame, rethinks morning.
I am unsure if I’ve ever really given thanks.
And while skilled at kneeling, letting on that I am,
my back is still resistant, seemingly hell-bent.
Once, the old mind seemed as big as a monolith,
not dimmed by the watery lenses of hindsight.
Bugged and grubbed-through there’s now little to it—
only some lines rumored to be rubbed from your stone.
So, best I opt for the small bag of pot and the gun
used on you and probably that poet-turned-smuggler.
No, I will not name any names. Unless it to the sea.

Mark DeCarteret’s work has appeared in nearly 400 literary reviews (AGNI, Boston Review, Chicago Review, Conduit, Cream City Review, Fence…), 25 anthologies, as well as 6 books. Alongside Charles Bukowski in a lo-fi fold out, Pope John Paul II in a hi-test collection of Catholic poetry, Billy Collins in an Italian fashion coffee table book, and Mary Oliver in a 3785 page pirated lit-trap. He has twice been a finalist for the New Hampshire Poet Laureate.