Devon Marsh

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the poet

Since serving as a pilot in the US Navy before embarking on a career in banking, Devon Marsh has had his poems and essays published by The Lake, Poydras Review, Black Bough Poetry, Split Rock Review and River Mouth Review, and has been featured on periodicities: a journal of poetry and poetics. Devon lives in the North Carolina piedmont, and is currently searching for a good home for his first full-length poetry collection.

the poems

Driftwood –
Olympic Peninsula

00:00 / 01:24

            Children throw driftwood into the sea,

            rebuking the wood’s audacity.


            Limbs and trunks lie ashore, bone-like

            rather than a severed part of forest. Yet


            the skeleton-white logs pay homage

            to shadow-black forms. Trees above wave-carved


            cliffs oversee the beach. Tall firs look ahead.

            The firs turn from the ocean, put breath


            into the sky. They look back and think

            again. Children cast pieces of trees


            to withdraw with the tide and feign they won’t

            return when we’re gone. Tall firs regard the sea.


            They look back and think of me, know

            I am of the forest even as rhythmic waves


            pound within my veins. How many

            will pulse the shore where I stand


            rooted to a spot on the sand? I take evergreen

            breath from the sky, look back, breathe again.


            I watch my heirs, relish their audacity.

            My children throw driftwood into the sea.

Own Fault

00:00 / 01:36

            Last night’s rain bowed the stream. Water cranes to peek

            above the rim, see beyond the channel of its world.


            On green hillsides, scattered orange firs resemble

            derelict sculpture, ignored rather than poisoned,


            like a forest erected when we built bridges that threaten

            to collapse from negligence. How could we fail


            to maintain our means of traverse? I would find

            another way to you, swim a raging torrent, tasting


            with each dip of my face the rusted tang of failure.

            Distracted by thoughts of a crossing I won’t make,


            it’s a verdant tree, lovely with life I curse when

            I misjudge my cast. This is my own fault, no one else


            to blame for a hook sunk to its barb in this summer’s

            terminal growth. Wade ashore, cut the leader, leave


            the mayfly perched above the current. Its name

            —Ephemeroptera—gives a nod to its day in the sun.


            Tie on line, knot nymph to tippet, eye the yellow

            slice of sky backed by faience, by cobalt.


            I wade in, cast again, try not to squander light.

            Around me, trees agree on a color for night.

Storm

00:00 / 01:18

            On the porch, close to 10pm. Enjoying

            red wine, lingering rain, thunder moving off,

            songs of at least three types of frog.


            Lightning flashes at greater and greater

            intervals, building tolerance for a gap

            that will carry to the next storm.


            This is when I replay our conversation

            wonder why you wondered

            what I meant. And also wonder if


            I should remark to you, inside, about

            the storm as it subsides. Something obvious,

            a point of sure agreement. The darkness


            rather than what’s in it. With no flashes

            I see the sheen of the screen. Pixeled black

            covers the yard, drowns the pond,


            obscures field and forest and sky. Night

            tries to mist onto the porch like rain, pool

            with shadows. The candle keeps it at bay.


            I’m on the bright side listening to frogs,

            replayed conversation, and receding thunder

            until it’s time to blow out the flame.

Publishing credits

Driftwood – Olympic Peninsula: River Mouth Review (Issue 4)

Own Fault / Storm: exclusive first publication by iamb