PoetryWinter 2023

Two Poems — Cole Depuy

Sapiens Pulse the River

We blame death
for there always being so much more.
A baby’s crown, his soft spot thrumming,
open bottles of sedative within reach, air beneath
the surface, an impulse to breathe
as the sun turns water white. I pull fishing line
out of my throat. Feel
where it pulls from, the plastic river flooding
& thinning, flooding & thinning.
Deeper into esophagi, my wet pink
reptilian insides
choke on a hook I deny holds a mind
of its own. The river’s wedding.
The river’s reeling. Barbed
throat, rivering home, I resist, teeth-first,
dragged over hot river rock, hollering vowels
the heron ignores my wet blue eyes
bulge, we see through tears, underwater,
our Gods intersect. All love is fear.
We want to be pulled below light & current,
to convulse, mouth pursed
around a thin string, feet buried in clay. I too
want to be extinct,
but not to die: find paradise in oblivion,
an inability to fathom my death
is freedom: in benzo overdose, I become immortal,
feel the cold kiss against my tailbone
as I hurdle the plastic river into depths
unknown: the way planets shrink for the biggest star,
addict, one who builds the house he steals.
I worship the water’s crown, lightning bugs
drown as I’m pulled deeper into the river. Relief,
even the present is memory.
I can stop fighting the bait I forgot I took.



I felt safe with you     in the trunk      it was February

there wasn't any traffic     just a dry vomit soaked towel
at my feet      & a bear's shadow     being bleached

from I-89 North     what else did we want   driving
as slow             as we could? dynamite?

a microscope? you said I embellish    a small noose

in the glove box
              peeling potatoes while you crept

in the left lane     we headed to our buddy's skin

         entire      toenails   left on the bathroom floor

the light towers formed        a stage for the bear's innards
crimson organs beneath hard hats    & cigarette smoke

moths ghost the bulbs        into crumbling moons
        we’re all born too soon         I realized

I could be anything   yet trapped   excavating

the slow wet slope                of your throat in the rear view

when we were farther North        stars dropped
                       by the fistfuls onto the highway’s

black river   I pressed     a flashlight to my cheek
& opened       my    mouth    I    could    barely  speak

   my mouth                   so full of light


Cole Depuy is the winner of an Academy of American Poets University Prize (Binghamton University) & the Negative Capability Press Spring 2020 Poetry Contest. His poetry has appeared, or is forthcoming, in The Pinch, Hunger Mountain Review, I-70 Review, Tipton Poetry Journal, Summerset Review, Seneca Review & elsewhere. He’s Poetry Co-Editor for Harpur Palate & Binghamton Poetry Project Co-Director. You can find him on Twitter @cole_depuy or coledepuy.com.

The author: Debra Marquart