Seth Copeland


Calypso, Catoosa, Coneflower

Nymph brood with an eternal gift,
you ply your trade by the forked river:
life ever running like a circuit,
spontaneity in which young men drown,
only to wake refreshed in the tallgrass,
wet and whet, a cold stone for fate.

Falling cities cannot stop fate.
Nations, peoples, all accept your gift
of renewal, fronting the tallgrass
with beckoning hair, ashy from river
dust, smelling of windfall sweet. A drown
of cedar perfume completes the circuit.

You lock, connect, match sine for circuit
in signatures that bind cocks to fate.
Coneflowers, impossible to drown,
still cling to your dress, a bur of gift
without stem, hues dark from the river
contrast with their sisters in tallgrass.

You’ve grown to love it, the tallgrass,
like Ogygian beach weed, a circuit
for new vistas, this tea brown river
your southwest cove, Catoosa your fate
fond base, the shore of your sere gift.
Echinacea buds wither on the drown

of your mildewed saffron. Who drowns
to sate your need? Those ambling tallgrass
zombies of mortal stench seeking the gift
you gravely give, placebo life, circuit
of cycle interrupted for ageless fate
without youth, Tithonus toward the river,

sulking in the fib of the river,
sobbing water, failing to drown,
another borrowed time stooge of fate.
Do you still smile in the tallgrass,
as they blubber? That next fool circuit
to break stands ready for the pale gift.

Renounce the tallgrass. Blaspheme the river.
Germinate fate. Drown the thralls.
Give the gift of mortal. Reconnect the circuit


The Moon Place

Grandpa empties a sack of cake on the dry pasture.
   The heifers amble, slumping brown mounds
along dank sunbleached grass and sunflowers.
   Indigo is sapping the sun. Pond locust sparkle.

As heifers amble, slumping brown mounds,
   scissortales flirt the powerlines, prefer the heavens.
Indigo is sapping the sun. Pound locust sparkle
   over stray baling, gnarly bobwire.

Flirty powerlines preferred the scissortales
   to the peeling floral wallpaper, grave flowers
over stray baling, snagged in gnarly bobwire.
   I am blinding gold in a spray of yellow.

The wallpaper peels. Grave bouquets
   fan festered whispers from the house’s bones.
My gold dances, spray of yellow, childhood,
   while grandpa scatters sacks of cake for dry meat.



Seth Copeland is an editor for The New Plains Review and the founding editor of petrichor. His most recent appearances are in Mud Season Review, pioneertown, San Pedro River Review, and conc**ī**s, among others. He lives and studies in Central Oklahoma.