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You will have grown too old
for the haircut before it grows back;
that’s the future perfect tense.
Someone will have awakened moaning
and because there is an audience
will take that moaning as far
as is profitable. There’s no despair
like inattention. Trees conspire
at the back edge of the property
to invent a more empathetic saw
or impenetrable pulp. This
is what they will have done
against despair. If I wave my wand
and only the magnetic are elected,
what can I do with the steel filings
that gather at the tip but twirl them
in my mug until they form
the standard ball-shape
of all hibernating creatures?
When they maximize warmth
is this their thing against despair?
Someone prints every “s” as an “f”
and just glancing at foliage I think
of soil, which will have been true, eventually.
Eventually every error is subsumed
in narrative; it’s just how things go.
Despair becomes recurrent, a body
of water I sit beside, though not
an all-encircling moat. It is liquid
more vernal, some fluid settled
in the lowest region of the zone,
a depression shy to motion, a basin
I arrive at, thinking, this really is despair,
so much broader than it is long.
Bill Carty lives in Seattle and is the author of Huge Cloudy (forthcoming from Octopus Books) and the chapbook Refugium (Alice Blue Books). His poems have recently appeared in Ploughshares, The Iowa Review, Conduit, and the Poetry Society of America website. He is an editor at Poetry Northwest.
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in your carpeted office you lay my life down / and say open up to that small room in my sternum.
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