Bio Note: I live in Tucson with my wife Connie. I’ve had work in such journals as Carolina Quarterly, Barrow Street, Cream City Review, and Rattle. I’m a passionate supporter of Sky Island Alliance, a regionally-based environmental organization.
I confess. We own a hot tub. Nothing ostentatious, room for three, modest gray plastic, set at 101 degrees, poorly maintained (pH? What pH?), but a stone blessing when I startle awake at 3 in the morning, my fingers cramped into claws. My tree-hugger friends lecture me about my hot tub, such self-indulgence, such waste. I think about them as my hands flower open, as the steam rises like smoke through the branches of our invasive olive tree.
Report From the Mothership
Imagine your teeth from an alien’s point of view. Weapons-grade collagen? A tiny race’s graveyard? Its word-horde inadequate, the alien googles poems about teeth: Basho: “Teeth sensitive to the sand in salad greens— I’m getting old.” Shakespeare: “Blow, thou winter wind. . . . Thy tooth is not so keen.” Herrick: “White as Zenobia’s teeth, . . .which the girls Of Rome did wear for their most precious pearls.” Strapped to a gurney, you watch the alien log off, its shadow crossing the brushed steel mirrors. Imagine your mouth from its point of view. Your tongue, a pulpy lure.
A Better World
In a perfect world, cats would bark. In this world, the Colorado River’s dying, the Lower Basin states going, going, gone. A friend told me his grandfather used to chant these words: “Nïltsabaká yasóni si dahazlágo adïsní`” (Male rain, beautiful, me it will come to, I say.) “Nïltsabaád yasóni si dahazlágo adïsní`” (Female rain, beautiful, me it will come to, I say.) A better world? Someday, an old white man like me will seem exotic.
©2021 Jefferson Carter
Editor's Note: If this poem(s) moves you please consider writing to the author (email address above) to tell her or him. You might say what it is about the poem that moves you. Writing to the author is what builds the community at Verse Virtual. It is very important. -JL