Acid scours the wellbore. Water-soluble guar
to regulate viscosity. South to north on us 65,
a ﬂeet of 300 carbon steel tankers is alive
with 400 million gallons of alluvial aquifer.
Poseidon’s dominion is both ocean and earthquake
but the Ozarks aren’t Greek. During inspection
the farmer’s trident pitchfork leans in his barn
while he swallows the lease. The play goes bulimic.
Radioactive ﬂowback is pooled in ponds—
benzene, xylene, naphthalene—spread on ﬁelds,
re-injected beneath his rooster’s bloodline song.
Three counties away, an Iraq vet with PTSD
braces for the next tremor in a beige La-Z-Boy.
He watches a documentary about the tides and sea.
Let plankton, symmetrical as ﬁligree metalwork,
die. Before the dinosaurs, beneath the inland sea
between Appalachia and Laramidia, let its silica
cell walls inter the afterlife of sunlight, work down
the water column, phosphorescent in thought,
black in the actual. Under pressure, let desire
descend, sift with deep marine snow, and reside
on seaﬂoor mud 300 million years before
Comanche County, Oklahoma. Repression,
the analyst writes, shelters that which is intolerable
to the conscious mind, and would, if released, create
tremendous anxiety. Good anthropomorphist I am,
plankton’s lonely down in the play. Bad apologist I am,
a pocket of sunlight sings from the black hurray.
Excerpted from Gold Cure by Ted Mathys. Copyright © 2020. Reprinted with permission of the publisher, Coffee House Press.