V  P  R

Contemporary Poetry and Poetics





It is someone's revenge—but whose?  Custer
was shaved this close by Crazy Horse, the bluster
of the Young Pretender's troops smoothed out
in 'Forty-Five.  At Marathon, the rout
of fleeing Persians scythed like weeds.  Dry grass,
things that grow out of cracks—and in one pass
the plastic string eliminates all doubt:
whatever was, is not.  There is no shout,
no cry, only a whirring, distant drone,
since, safety-conscious, you in phones
of silence clad your tender ears.  With eyes
protected too, you bear down on the prize
of further stalks.  You give it gas: it huffs
and puffs, and ghostly dandelions and rough
green matter disappear.  Plant Waterloo,
a Pickett's Charge of leaves.  A god, who
waves this wand: see how the very dust
is blown away.  By this, mad Blake's mistrust
at last made manifest: from Newton's side
God took this awful thing, and now the hide
it tans is yours.  The leaves disintegrate,
the fuel is gobbled up.  Only the State
remains, that which is clean and orderly,
and lacking root or branch: the plastic tree.

© by Jared Carter


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