I. Wetlands Preserve
Wetlands fill again
with heavy rains
and thin poplar
to trap gentle beasts
for predator packs.
I find more skulls
and splintered bones
along the creek beds.
One skull stares
teeth the color of peat,
a broad snout
that failed to sense
the famished things.
Ooze as rich as marrow
blackens beneath the thick mesh
of sharp sapling, and beneath
the muck more black earth.
Before the Iroquois,
the Algonquin, before
them a nameless species,
godless. They worshiped
nothing and followed
only their hunger
with points such as this:
thin isosceles tooth,
exactly one inch tall,
stained green where trod
upon in grass for more
than two millennia.
Sharp still, as a shard
of broken bottle, sharp
enough to tear through hide
and stop at other bones.
A people leave behind
no trace of gods, only
weapons, still intact,
still good as tool.
He talks about his foreign car, first time
he failed to buy American, then shifts
to people: “Salt-and-pepper race is what
we’re headed for, how could anybody
go with a black? You must be crazy! Sick!”
He rocks a bit. Then we direct two cars
to pause to let the sleigh and horse pass by.
“You know, the Nazis had the right idea:
just line ‘em all against a wall—” and here
he gestures like we used to do as kids.
I picture the sinkhole behind my house,
a little ways into the woods, third-growth
or younger pine and hemlock: its black deeps,
how light refuses to enter the space,
now crusted with the thinnest snow cover.
A child could disappear inside, and might
be gone forever, become a nest for worms,
white larval forms, and deep rot foetor,
and no one to talk of what’s been lost,
the lost tribes, darker brothers, bark eaters.
Dave Iasevoli, Ed.D., grew up in Brooklyn and now lives and teaches in the Adirondack Mountains of Upstate New York. His daughter and only child, Ariel, is a personal trainer (“Master Class”) in NYC. His wife, Dianne, makes movies.
He studied at Amherst College with Guru Bob Thurman and received his doctorate from Columbia University. The poets who were central to his dissertation are Donne, Stevens, Jorie Graham, and Gwendolyn Brooks. He has traveled through 50 States and loves the deserts of the Southwest, especially White Sands and Death Valley. He has published both poetry and non-fiction, and studied at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference with Natasha Trethewey.