Todd McCarty, "The Language of Stalks and Water"




          We often forget that we are nature.

               —Andy Goldsworthy



Only during the calmness of gray mornings

when the fog hangs like a mystery 


and conjures what is forgotten with a quiet, sudden fury 

does the lake finally take on a subtle stillness.


The knotweed stalks I've collected

beg to be here, but the soft mud


makes for an awkward going. 

So I float a dozen on the surface 


and move slowly as I reach down 

to drive each gradually into the murk


having to constantly negotiate

above and below, the mirror quaking. 


Such loud sloshings as I curse 

wobbling, while the crane 


stalks the shallows around the bend.

I struggle to keep standing,


not losing perspective as the surface 

blurs what I'm trying to accomplish. 


Hours after, when the camera is set, 

the mirror finally settled again, 


I wait for the fog to blot out 

the hills in the distance, 


and for this thing half-revealed 

to complete itself in fume.



Todd McCarty's poetry and reviews have appeared in Laurel Review, Quiddity, Conclave, DIAGRAM, Columbia Poetry Review, Court Green, Verse Daily, OmniVerse, and Gently Read Literature. He is a recipient of an Illinois Arts Council Grant and a Vermont Studio Center Fellowship. Blue Press Books published his first chapbook, Fall for You