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An Island Off Chatham

By David Troupes

Blue plastic washed among weed,
among rope and foam
with the other torn things, arrived

through bowels of making and metal,
the gizzards and vents 
of the world-machine. Petrochemicals, trees perhaps—

memory scrubbed out, future tussled away,
sloshing in mid-cycle wastes,
in sunless tunnels, laundered by science

of soul. I look down
and notice an ant moving quickly
across the skin over my heart,

hurrying toward my center. This is the day
we paid a man to leave us on an island,
in a mist which never broke, in a wind which only rose,

with our sky-jammed kite and the sea lions
darkly in the rollers. And there, sliding

in the wash—and I transfixed—
like a paradise scrap, a color seed
before the branching of color—that blue

plastic, flexuous
and fluting in the water, in the dark chalk, and all the earth fading
like pain toward sobriety.

David Troupes has published two full collections of poetry, Parsimony (2009) and The Simple Men (2012), and his work has appeared in journals such as Alaska Quarterly Review, Northern New England Review, and Hayden’s Ferry Review. When he’s not writing poems he’s drawing comics – see


Archive, The River

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