Winter Rental

Mark DeCarteret

After backlogging last week’s losses
I lob the whole book into the sea.
You could easily see me from any window
but the one in the kitchen with the niche
beneath the sill you have hidden your secrets.
Retired, I shape putty into the littlest of whales
and laugh as the cat swipes at them, riveted
while you pull out your apron like a safety net,
knuckles scored from the table’s edge,
before grabbing for the spyglass
keeping look out for that barge
with its belly of paper scraps, parables.
I can taste brine, a billion lies going bad
but this too is garbage, ad-libbed on the deck.
A military jet passes, a red X on its chest,
a gray similar to all the black and white
ever compromised, made to play nice,
its shrill cry a baby hawk’s or a ghoul’s.
You’re wondering if it’s still possible
to drown under miles of words,
stirring only to sit even further inside
the British, floor model, version of yourself.
Is it there that you touch the one thing
that serves only your soul, the non-existent?
I feel slipshod and blowsy just mentioning it,
my teeth and tongue bent on my throat,
wanting none of this pinned on them.