About the Feature

Spell the name slowly before you come, as I have
asked you to come, bearing me a sea-blue porcelain platter
piled with what remains of what Maine was.
As I said, the name can be that of anyone you wish
never to see again, knowing if you did, your life, and happiness,
were you to say yes this time, might be realized.
Wiggle your toes as if my thigh were a favorite tide pool,
warm in the sun and as cold as the deepest cod.
This project requires enormous reserves of fortitude
out of which, like fire-eyed ants from a withered desert hole,
crepuscular crabs crawl rabid for a wink of light.
Theirs are the empty territories you must reveal to me.
While you’re at it you will hesitate, daydream of summer, and add
a small, cold butter-crunch to the platter you bear.
The length of chain I’ve requested? It will enable my friends
to salvage all the ugly ways I’ve fled for home.
One last thing—as you consider the consequences
of sympathizing, of seeing me sideways again through the blue,
remember how the world felt the solstice we stood
together and shivering, drunk weightless on our drams of wind.
It’s with all my hope and love and appreciation of children
I beg you to ignore me, perfectly, a pine among pines.
The time has come, wisdom is nothing, the details of how we went
and how far, and at what cost—it will all flash and disappear
with a concussion akin to, and here’s where this ends,
akin to saying nothing when the time has come.

About the Author

Gary Clark was born (1963) and raised in New Haven county, Connecticut. He received a BA in English/Drama from Dartmouth College in 1986, and a MFA in poetry from the University of Oregon in 1992. Since 1993 he has worked at the Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, Vermont, where he lives with his wife and three children.