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David Iasevoli

I. Wetlands Preserve

 

Wetlands fill again

with heavy rains

and thin poplar

sprout overnight

 

to trap gentle beasts

for predator packs.

I find more skulls

and splintered bones

 

along the creek beds.

One skull stares

out totemically:

giant sockets,

 

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.

 

 

II.  Arrowhead

 

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.

III.  Sinkhole

 

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.