Three Poems by Jackie Clark

The Big Tree through the Open Door


Only the under-
layer sees itself

& it adjusts
easily to the mirage

If I could sit
with my foot

touching your foot
we could sit

in the closet
with the light’s

string hanging
between us & you

can be the one who
gets to turn it on & off.





The strategy resounds like lime
Miles routinely embedded, prized distance
The first morning after dogmoon
Orange and abandoned and corded

Olly olly oxen free, promised
Future retainment, future absorbing pathos
Rebuilt circulatory, a coded whistle
Ringing in, having rung, debase

The expectations. I reduce until
Prime, morning straightens the utensils
Silvering lids open and let
The steam sneak out, exfoliating

The basement of the respiratory
We watchmen anticipate the drop,
Ruined locks of ruined doors
Pressed commotion lovingly, the reproductive

Tally ho toward round red grapes
Individually I present per finger,
I licentiously queue the social
Greeting, confirming grieved boomerangs



The Yard


Each part for travel
Ground depression raked over & over
Depth still visible
The space of the air has learned form
The alternates are darkening
It is a single passage
There is just one beginning and one end
The body looks greedy
Each part for influence
The safest situation involves nothing
Desire is a half-truth
Its ideal blinders
Equipped with mouth
The body looks for place
Full and self-constructed
Appropriation changes
There are days and days
I count out nickels
I rustle plastic, open air
The mechanics rise up and release
The inside understands what the outside is doing
That all swallowing expires, that all joins hands
Whether sun or shade or pulsing rivers
The bends between oxygen
The glowing fountain pushed on and off
On the stone ledge, the park bench
Official positions back to the well
I follow the rubus vine
I keep measuring cups in my back pocket
You will say none of this used to be here
Each part framed by intake
Each part the frame of a shell
Lines carve out the perimeter
The field slides to cherry trees to sand paths that grow in more and more
Each year
The perimeter expands without congratulations
There is nothing which defines its expansion
There is no instance which determines the fork
Silver amulets mark concrete squares
The hill is mostly uncertain
The perimeter swells for others
Mornings are morninngs
The sum of unmitigated action
The callous architecture of the first
Having not seen what has yet to exist
The extent to which one can project
Essay, essay, essay
Make-shift door shims, their hinging back and forth
Iconic pine trees abreast
To live behind a large shadow




Jackie Clark is the series editor of Poets off Poetry on Coldfront, a monthly series where poets write about music.  She is also the author of two chapbooks, Red Fortress (H_NGM_N) and Office Work (Greying Ghost).  She lives in Jersey City and can be found online at


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