Fall 2009, Volume 7

Poetry by Mario Duarte

What Surreptitiously Oozes

As if we were wasps, we rub our sore feet—
          shudder before the long, fiery hair of
compassionless hope—a coughing doctor
          must inspect the jaw and nod his noggin
of tender mercies at us, then offer us
an old, bowed cane with an ivory handle.

          His fiend could sew a suit out of my skin,
while my feet throb in these new, too-tight shoes.
          Home at last, my white slacks pinch at my crotch.
I am scalded by my own sweaty palms
          as I reach for a tome: Lives of The Poets
          damn their red eyes, mythic bodies, fisted faces!

In a dream, the poet wore long, black gloves,
           a black leather skirt, a string of caustic pearls,
while the wagging beast of summer carried me
          aloft its back like a child—I was awe-struck
by what surreptitiously oozes over the horizon
as if a barbarian riding into the eye of the night.



BIO: Mario Duarte is an alumnus of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and the University of New Hampshire, and has published poems in The American Poetry Review, the Carolina Quarterly, and Eclipse, among others.