That’s where your mother and three uncles
played as kids, all their kids too;
where water clovers throbbed
in current and clear memory;
where they found that boy dead
with all the sticks shoved down his throat.
They said cousin Thomas did it
and it took three year to send him to Rikers.
Now it moves like slow mud
with only the long necks of turtles among styrofoam.
This world is still flat. A flat clean stone good
for skipping which teeters
on the shell of a turtle, which teeters
on the shell of another turtle,
on the shell of another turtle, and all the way down
permanently. God has a plan for him, Uncle says.
But we can do better:
how about— when the world wavers
there is no meaning greater
than a turtle’s twenty-five year yawn.
To the Mexican Bagboy Outside My First Apartment
I’ve never understood feelings
Maybe they are moles that pop up
in no particular order
and need to get whacked
Maybe they are the wild fruits
we consume on our journey home
What are these dark thoughts I have
when I stand on your line to watch
that sparse mustache come in
like brown spots ripening a banana
like cargo ships from the South
maneuvering their hulls into tight ports
Brent Canle is completing his MFA at the University of North Carolina—Wilmington. His poetry has appeared in Best Poems, Poesy, Sweet: A Literary Confection, and elsewhere.