Pimone Triplett
Spieden Island, San Juan’s Boat Tour, Washington

Among the many mannered spy toys
rendered to make
the viewer less visible

to the viewed—e.g., binocs, mics, mini-
cams, my high-strung home
security system bleeping

in tongues when I drive away—​
the ones I love most
are those pricey round owl-eyed

sunglasses
Jackie O. found for her famous
face, a low-tech way

to watch the watchers back
unwatched.
Behind the look of almost eye-

patches awarded the post-op burn victim,
bivouacked by her life
and times and more than,

something there was that widowed a people.
See now how our tour guide nudges
up her nose bridge the neon-green

wrap-arounds of her perspective.
The mother and son whales
are celebrities.

Nikons, iPhones raised to
follow the animals’ scimitar fins
slicing in tandem through still water:

the mother’s
white on black “eyespot” oval
alters a pattern I had in mind.

Our leader is called Katherine
or Kathleen or Kath or Katie or Kay.
She tells us “it’s the Sunglass Hut

mega mogul who owns
that two mile island across the bay.”
The Frames of Your Life.

“He’s a very private person,
all Humvees with machine guns but,” she adds,
“I’d really like to meet that guy,

one naturalist to another.”
Where are you from? What is your favorite
part of the country? When I spot three

small black shapes
on shore, cat-sized, with pointy
bulbous rumps

like the rear headlights of a vintage
Cadillac, Kate tells me they’re imported
Japanese mini-deer, brought here

for exotic game hunting, brain-children
of the island’s previous owner,
John Wayne.

The Duke dreamt of private
shooting through these archipelagoe’d
waters

of a western Washington day. Mouflon sheep
and goats from Ghana,
equally displaced, make

at dusk the best of
the island’s gritty barren side.
In True Grit, though Wayne

falls from his horse,
drunk again,
about hunting he was never wrong,

the asshole. Which America
do you love the most? Think
how it seemed to the animals,

my father says on the ferry-way back.
Something there was, a people,
required.

The deer terrified by this below-hoof hardness
            moving not right for so long
and then rock and sand and sun

bright paining and the feeder
comes no more.
In the old movie, it’s the fatherless girl

who says, Who knows
what’s in a man’s heart.
Also, glare shellacs

the open oil dribble from our boat
peacock purple, apple green.
Put on your dark glasses.

America, which America
do you hate the most?
Some animals stay.

Others awayed by men. In the sandy places
            many of our black shapes
                        shot down.

Several species have been removed. Hold on
to railings as you disembark. This way,
little syllable, this way.

On the Nutshells of Unexplained Death and Other Miniatures

The postage stamp papers
waiting for letters from the minuscule
writer who never enters make me want
to eat the scene: a mouth begins

to water. Pebble potatoes,
thimble sink. The hand-
made cracker-sized hearth
carpet set between the Cape

Cod chair and thumbalina
staircase isn’t enough to close
in on the moment; here
are the glasses. Ant-gauged

atop the matched-to-a-matchbox
writing table, so little is so much,
achingly scaled.
That pinky nail calico

cat whose focus on a pinhead
yarn ball skews him from seeing
past the one-inch-to-one-foot
world he lives in

defines me as one who stands
beside a pencil point and waves.
Think—review the crime scene.
Dead at the oven door, the little

woman of the house is pinned
face down to her graph paper
linoleum. Struck or shoved
or fallen from her mid-morning

work, iron-on, ropey mop standing
careful in a corner. Coroner’s
report forgoes how flesh was
once her tidy decoration over

bone, metatarsal, skull tunnel
just hours before this last cleanest
cold. Who doesn’t murder
to direct?

Some control mixes its blessings,
coming down to this cellophane
window blistering
a wall through which I can see

the mini hero
laying himself down
beside a single blade of grass,
if only to enlarge the sky.


Pimone Triplett’s recent book of poetry, entitled Supply Chain, is forthcoming in fall of 2017 from the University of Iowa/ Kuhl House Poetry Series. She is the author of three previous books of poetry, Rumor (Northwestern University Press/ Triquarterly Books 2009), The Price of Light (Four Way Books, 2005), and Ruining the Picture (Northwestern University Press/ Triquarterly Books 1998). She is also co-editor (with Dan Tobin) of Poet’s Work, Poet’s Play (University of Michigan Press, 2007), an anthology of essays on the craft of poetry. She is an associate professor of creative writing the University of Washington MFA program in Seattle.