Self-Portrait with Saint Augustine
Splintered toenail, bug
bitten navel, fungus
in the crevasse, sprout
of warts on the heel of hand
and foot. The list grows
with age. The antlion lurks
in the sand funnel it
created a harvest of ants.
The list grows like blame.
Lay it on my for every midnight
feeding nipple smack
and unfolded load of laundry.
Like a spider mite swinging
by the coattails of the invisible
I read small symbols in the wind.
Follow with my whole body
floating I caffeinate and levitate.
I’m awake but never so wide
as I want to be. Call me skinny,
spider mite, an old dog
drowsing with a swarm of tiny
flies in his loins. I convulse
humping my used, half-price copy
of Saint Ne’er-do-well.
Theo demands more
wheels. I comply with a panoply,
a daisy chain of shabby
rings cast beyond the undercarriage
of whichever truck I’m
drawing, I’m turning
into a train stretching across the horizon.
Omi brims with breastmilk.
Barf splotches adorn, they badge
the shoulder of every fleece, or hoodie,
I have. What am I at best,
you ask, but an infant sucking
the milk Thou givest? How malnourished am I,
to my marrow? I no longer go
to the movies, thank God, one of parenting’s
truly positive gains: An excuse to skip
any party. Pare away everything
but today’s balming fragrant winter rain.
Shed the dream fragments
of snow, any sign of the colossal food
fight in which we wedding caked
ourselves. Impermanence of desire, indeed,
Augustine. What blows my mind is
why the outside dog still tries
to weasel his muddy paws
through the storm door and spill
into the house that all my life
I’ve wanted out of.
The House on Wien
Dandelion heads bunny-ear
the seller’s yard. Winged seed
pods smother the green
light with yellow
moths. Our morning drive
dead-ends in termites and ruined
sheetrock. Seller disclosures
don’t tell the half of it. Home inspectors
intone water damage.
The house on Wien, while faceless,
sported ornamental shutters.
Home inspectors cant woodrot
in an 83-page report: soiled
carpet, latch misaligned
with the keyway in the striker plate,
debris in the window tracks,
cracks in the foundation.
The future is opaque, Augustine.
Who will help us? Back home,
in my childhood home, Cory showers
the yard in cut grass. A tidal wash
of green litters the beige
blocks of the driveway. I lean backwards
into freefall. All around me
the trees are shaking
their pompoms. There is a shade
of blue beyond azure, a glow
in the lowest terrace of sky
among buoyant branches like a mosaic
of broken glass.
About the Author
Cameron Morse was diagnosed with a glioblastoma in 2014. With a 14.6-month life expectancy, he entered the Creative Writing Program at the University of Missouri—Kansas City and, in 2018, graduated with an M.F.A. His poems have been published in numerous magazines, including New Letters, Bridge Eight, Portland Review and South Dakota Review. His first poetry collection, Fall Risk, won Glass Lyre Press’s 2018 Best Book Award. His latest is Baldy (Spartan Press, 2020). He lives with his wife Lili and two children in Blue Springs, Missouri, where he serves as poetry editor for Harbor Review. For more information, check out his Facebook page or website.