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This is Jacket 14 - July 2001   |   # 14  Contents   |   Homepage   |

This issue of JACKET is a co-production with SALT magazine

Mark Weiss

Two poems

Feral Garden

Stepped on a dead bird had been stepped on unnoticed
many times, but this time
in socks,
whatever clear fluid wicked up, through
to my skin, cold and greasy. Not much -
a nestling. Pink, naked, beak and feet,
blue eyelid.
Scraped it up from in front of the door
with a piece of paper, its mark
still on the deck,
and into the garbage. But noticed
a pale red stain that had been hidden
beneath its body that must have been
its whole life’s-blood.

Hours later
I dreamed I had poked out my left eye
on the sharp edge of the shower curtain
and on the floor
a bloodied globe with a blue pupil for all the world
intact, but useless. And spent my sleep
testing my vision    back and forth
blinking each eye    coming to terms
with my new affliction.

Fell from the nest
found by the possum or the neighbor’s cat
and left here. From the other side of
the garden, where my wife has hung
a feeder full of seeds from a pine bough,
making that space the main hangout
for the neighborhood flyers, doves to sparrows,
and a better prowl
along the fence behind it
for whatever felines. Who
are we feeding
in this wild garden, the small birds
eating their seeds at the feeder
and diving to the tilled ground for insects.
Between us the scattered petunias and green peppers.

So let me tell you about my garden.


Attention sways, can’t fix
to anything.

Every morning he goes to his garden
barefoot, for the cold pleasure. Each day the beans
are a little taller, the wind
has flattened them against the wire
just long enough for a tendril
to take hold
that the vine may climb
towards sunlight. All of this
as if by accident - as if untended: this row of lettuce,
this of  beets,
a vagrant clump of weeds, a pile of cuttings. After all,
it’s the ratty ends of things
he finds attractive. Little room
to cultivate a life
or a wife.

To accept one’s lot may be
to become a pillar of sorrow,
he thinks, but to be alone
is salt itself.

Photo of Mark Weiss
Mark Weiss is the author of two chapbooks and two collections of poems. A third chapbook is in preparation by Chax Press. He is publisher and editor of Junction Press, for which he is currently preparing, with Harry Polkinhorn, a bilingual anthology of the poetry of Baja California, on Mexico’s extreme northwestern frontier, and, with Alina Camacho-Gingerich, a bilingual anthology of Cuban poetry since 1943. A New Yorker for most of his life, he currently resides in San Diego, California.

J A C K E T # 14   and   S A L T # 13   Contents page
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This issue of Jacket is a co-production with SALT magazine,
an international journal of poetry and poetics, edited by John Kinsella
PO Box 937, Great Wilbraham, Cambridge PDO, CB1 5JX United Kingdom ISSN 1324-7131

This material is copyright © Mark Weiss
and Jacket magazine and SALT magazine 2001
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