BY RANDALL MANN
Like eelgrass through a glass-
bottom boat on the Silver River,
I see the state, obscured yet pure. Derision,
a tattooed flame crackling
underneath the lewd, uncool
khaki of an amused park worker.
I was the sometimes boy on a leash,
my sliver of assent in 1984 —
as if it were my decision.
The I-75 signage, more than metaphor.
As if I had the right to vote.
The slumber parties then were hidden wood;
the tea so sweet, the saccharin
pink and artificial, like intelligence.
The science sponsored in part by chance.
I made my acting debut with the red
dilettante down the street, “Rusty” Counts,
in Rusty Counts Presents: Suburbs of the Dead,
straight to VHS. My parents phoned a counselor.
A palmetto bug read Megatrends on the fold-
ing chair by our above-ground swimming pool ...
The pool shark lurked, but not to fear.
The end unknowable, blue, inmost, and cold,
like the comfort of a diplomatic war.