Fax to Thaxter 

Sea is vying for sky—
that white prior to white, Celia.

O how we’d forgotten to breathe!
The peeled door we’ve been eyeing,

just enough cedar-minded we must make
sure we duck before heading out heavenward.

And that star we’ve been looking at, is it nothing but
unbearable smut, its nose mucked with mystery

from lunging up eternity’s skirt again?
What fun, my bride, what un-get-at-ability!

Are we ever more than a passage away
from the gasp that might save us?

The Last Ever American Leprosarium 

“Carville opened as a state facility in 1894,
neighbors being told it was an ostrich farm.”

Boston Globe article

At first, I was tricked into seeing them—
their farthest-out feathers, these fits of confetti
tossed up against a backdrop of hurricane rains,
whiter than lab coats or the close-to-bald abdomen
of a lamb awaiting a tickle from Christ’s fingertips.

Into spotting the cursive of their necks stiffening
what with the wind and its calliope tinkling, its overplayed ironies,
their feet clawing the mineral-rich topsoil into ridicule, taunts
as they leapt our plantation’s porch swings and gin fizzes
and got into the crops as well as our storytelling.

Even having witnessed the coal barge they’d sent from downriver,
tugged through crisscrossing tides, across unwonted sand bars,
being grabbed by the strangler vines, gumbo limbo tree branches—
their bark would be peeling off by the float-load
like the most vile and insidious of treaties, bills of sale


Mark DeCarteret’s poetry has been (or will soon be) published by The American Poetry Review, AGNIBoston Review, Caliban, Chicago Review, Conduit, Confrontation, Exquisite Corpse, Fence, Gargoyle, Hotel Amerika, Hunger Mountain, Poetry East, Plume Poetry Journal, and St. Petersburg Review.