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
            Jackie O. found for her famous
                                    face, a low-tech way
to watch the watchers back
                        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
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
nbsp;                how it seemed to the animals,
my father says on the ferry-way back.
            Something there was, a people,
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.