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The Physicist and the Truffle Hunter

Carlo, let me know

(The physicist, not the truffle hunter)


Time’s only proof

Is the piss stain of heat loss


The leathery steam snapping curls

Over the lip of your coffee cup


Through a November dawn

Chittering with birds—


Their heat will only rise

When the new sky volleys enough


Of the shameless branches

With arrows of light, but


Carlo, the truffle hunter,

Takes his hounds with their trained snouts


Much, much earlier than birds

When the earliest day is still night


Avoiding his wife’s castigation

With her elbows turned out the window


Screaming his name

Down the valley slopes


Where the lime in the soil

Was not dug for Roman concrete


But fed in secret the costly, earthen,

Fungal diamonds sniffed out;


Folding over the centuries

Like Italian playing cards


With clever daggers that shine

Between two elderly patriarchs


Who do not and never shall

Eat much of what they discover—


As they are eaten by time

The Carlos smoke over coffee


Phasing in and out 

Of the e(i)ther

Gary Dale Burns (August Janson) was born a Janson in Provo, UT, in 1985. He earned a BA in English at Portland State University and an MAT at Bard College. His work has been published by Cæsura, Chronogram, Green Kill, and Chosen Family, among others. A public school teacher, he currently resides in Catskill, NY, with his partner Gillian.

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