Two from American Amnesiac

Diane Raptosh





The largest landfill in the world floats within the ocean’s midriff: a slowly moving

            clockwise current-spiral sparked



and girdled by high-pressure systems of air. Unnatural wonder of the water-world

            in the neighborhood of the horse



latitudes: the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, twice the size of Texas-and-two-thirds. This vortex

            captures millions of pounds



of trash from around the world. Pelagic plastics dervish-dance with phytoplankton;

            fishermen drag in deflated green



balloons, strings still attached. Confetti krill can’t help but choke on tiny resin pellets

            known as nurdles while the garbage gyre



stockpiles noxious flecks invisible to the naked eye. I sometimes see the unseen

            clearer than paths no longer



mine. People from across the world came forth to name me. Time gives whatever

            goes by shape: Lisette’s cowlick. A funnel cake. That boot-tip off the sloop of Texas.






Today I read about the green sea slug: half animal, half plant,

           lips shunted like sheer plumped-out plantains. Stalkless,



they suck innards from algal filaments, green branched gut network

            born to burgle organelles and store them in slug cells.



They’ve formed of their loneliness fusion, tufted gills meshed

            into leaf bracts, mantle gland latticed with small netted veins,



cerata seeing to it this being can breathe precisely from the place

            of something else. Multi-cellular kingdom crossings: I take notes



on much of what I read so I can spot what I think, slowing my nerve network

            to surcease. Try to find the you that’s neither yours



nor theirs. I’m somehow them and us: Doe/Rinehart~~even a third body,

            humanly mollusk, echoing through the sensual dark.



File this one under Readers may know more than we do.

            More than the police. Our sources. Or the subject of the story himself.









Diane Raptosh has published three collections of poems, Just West of Now (Guernica Editions, 1992), Labor Songs (Guernica, 1999), and Parents from a Different Alphabet (Guernica, 2008). A professor of creative writing and literature at The College of Idaho and the recipient of three fellowships in literature from the Idaho Commission on the Arts, she has published widely in journals and anthologies in the U.S. and Canada. Her fourth collection of poetry, American Amnesiac, will be published by Etruscan Press in spring 2013.