about the author

Mark DeCarteret’s work has appeared in AGNI, Boston Review, Chicago Review, Conduit, Cream City Review, Cutthroat, The Del Sol Review, failbetter, Gargoyle, Hotel Amerika, Killing the Buddha, Mudfish, New Orleans Review, Phoebe, Poetry East, Pool, Quick Fiction, Salamander, Salt Hill, Sonora Review, Spinning Jenny, Superstition Review, and Third Coast as well as the anthologies American Poetry: The Next Generation (Carnegie Mellon Press), Brevity & Echo: Short Short Stories by Emerson College Alums (Rose Metal Press), New Pony: Collaborations & Responses (Horse Less Press), Thus Spake the Corpse: An Exquisite Corpse Reader (Black Sparrow Press) and Under the Legislature of Stars—62 New Hampshire Poets (Oyster River Press) which he also co-edited.

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The Lonesome Cheer of the Automatons

Mark DeCarteret

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Because you rationed my blood,
blew your theme song out my skull
I have taken to watching the sky again
for the one star that murmurs
from out of its bandages, bemoaning
the senseless pageantry of night.
From the mid-section up I am mush
except for this bouquet of nerves
I had you ink on my chest.
Do you remember the lake o the lake
when we’d awoke to slapping of film
as it emptied itself of our memories
like a spinner rack spun by myself as a child?
Suddenly, I am present like I never have been.
Some self I’d abandoned in a forest
with only some crumbs of philosophy.
Were you the one who made off with my shoes
or had you been wearing them the whole time?
The dock is slippery with bait.
And I’m reluctant to walk it with us holding hands.
But you’ve taken to the spillage
as if it was prayer, some heaven-spat solder.
What I thought was the sun being gutted
I’m now figuring for the light of a projector,
my hand conversing with its very own shadow.

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