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March 8, 2016 | Poetry

Three Poems

Chloe N. Clark

Three Poems photo

What the Earth Returns to Our Mouths

we have eaten dirt, still clinging
to the beets we thought we washed

clean, so careful, so impossible
to get every bit

   And there is nothing we can do for
   you, say the birds, pecking at our skin
  
   they think we taste as sweet as candy
   canes, as overripe pawpaw fruit

we have been eating so much
earth, it sticks between our teeth

rich and dark and even our
hair grows silky with the clay

   And there is nothing we will do for
   you, say the roots of trees, pushing
 
   through our bones, up and up,
   as if our ribs are ladders

we try to remember to clean,
clean the skin, until it bleeds

red into the lines of our hands,
this color, it looks so familiar

 

An Infinity of Chip Bros

On the bus, crunched between
the pole and an undergrad, I try to study
my hands. It’s easy to forget
the lines our own palms contain:
whirls and patterns  that make us
us. When my ears tune into
the conversation between one
standing undergrad and the one
sitting next to me:
  “Did you remember your lunch today?”
“Got some Cool Ranch Doritos.”
A woman gets on the bus in bright red
scarf, down coat, a reminder that ice
is coming, watching my breath roll
out of my mouth, waiting, is coming.
  “Oh, man, yeah, you like
  your chips.”
“No, just Doritos.
Cheetoes, Fritos,
I hate that shit, but I love me some
Doritos.”
Across the street, from through
the window, there is a man running,
to catch his daughter who has gotten
free of held hands, of the safety of
someone keeping her near, and I
hope he can catch her, but the bus
turns before I see.
  “No Fritos?” The sitting one says, pain palpable
  in his voice.
“You know she tried to pack me some once
and I brought them back and she said, ‘I could’ve
given you something else.’ And I said, ‘yeah, well,
you should have.”
We are twelve stops away
from my stop and my watch says
I’m almost late. If you’re always early,
then you’re on time, someone told me
once. And maybe my watch is fast,
maybe I’ll be there on time, maybe—
  “Did you miss your stop?”
“No, the bus stops closer. I mean
normally I’m all about the walking,
like I’m a walker, but not
in these shoes and it’s fucking cold
as shit.”
But things that come from the body
are never cold, I want to say, catching
my tongue. There are only so many
conversations I have ever wanted to get
into. And he’s wearing leather boating
shoes, dark, barely worn, warm.
  “Headed to the comp sci building?”
“Yeah, you know it.”
  “Class?”
“No, just hanging with my homies.”
Silence.
“Just hanging with my homies.”
Silence
“But, also, like class.”
The bus stops, one leaves,
and I am back to silence or,
at least, the absence of over-
heard conversations. Everyone
returns to the screens of their
phones. Outside the bus, the fog
is rolling in, it looks like
the ghost of a blanket, reminding
that there used to be something
to keep me warm.

 

Google Search History, Tell Me Who I Am

Sheed coach
Why isn’t Sheed a coach?
Stats for Rasheed Wallace’s time as Assistant Coach
Andrew Lincoln Abraham Lincoln
When I was a child I thought
What color are cubras?
What color are cobras?
myself foolish for believing
Can I feed my sour sugar?
What will happen if I feed my sour sugar?
What will happen if I feed my sour dough starter sugar?
that someone lived inside the mirror, waiting
How many people have broken their teeth testing gold?
to get out
Houdini
gif of pie
video of baby sloths in onesies
to get out, isn’t that what we all fear
Fear of trees
Fear of books
Fear of dreams
Oneirophobia
How many people suffer from oneirophobia?
but what it was was that it would get out
Particle Physics
and understand so much more than me
Particle Physics Wikipedia
would never need to lose hours
Loss of time syndrome?
looking down one path that leads to another path
Fear of shadows word
sometimes the mirror flickers
What were mirrors originally made of?
sometimes I think I’m the one
Specific word for sense of taste
I’m the one looking out
Fibonacci sequence illustrated in nature
I’m scared
Sounds under water
I’m scared
Of darkness
Where does the word darkness come from?
Words for shadows
that this is all we are
Pictures underwater viewing the sky

 

image: Carabella Sands


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