6 December 2009 | Vol. 9, No. 4


Jack Marshall, 1932-2009

The body was one thing we always had

in common, even when between us

a continent unfolded. Eric says,

"We scattered his ashes beneath the Japanese Maple

here behind the house." No ceremony,

as you wished, but this…

What you wanted from me was complex

and simple, both. Once, you asked for more

than I had to give. I live

with this; call it regret. Your hands bloom

in the intaglioed scrawl, creased onion skin tattooed

with garnet stamps from Pietrasanta,

a sifting of marble dust… Images: chiseled

jut of jaw, cheek, bridge of nose—recall

each granite face rising from New Hampshire

dirt upon which faltering, you last stepped.

In 1729, long before either of us came

to be, Reiner Ottens dragged his fine tip

across a smooth sheet: Globi Coelestis

in Tabulas Planas Redacti Pars III. Bright beings—

—lobster, serpent, bison, dove bearing the requisite

sprig—swirl and writhe over lines that pin

distance and story to time.

Spectral creatures that we are, connecting dots

to chart our ways… If only I could wrap

the whole plane back into its ball.

Without your body in it,

this world's gone


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For further reading:

See the complete list of work by Katrina Roberts at 42opus. Browse the contents of 42opus Vol. 9, No. 4, where "Cartography" ran on December 6, 2009. List other work with these same labels: poetry.

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