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Robin Clarke

Robin Clarke is a writer, teacher, and psychotherapist living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Her first book of poems, Lines The Quarry (Omnidawn, 2013), won the Omnidawn 1st/2nd book prize for poetry. With the poet Sten Carlson, she co-authored a chapbook of poems entitled Lives of the Czars (nonpolygon, 2011). An excerpt from her memoir-in-progress, Those Little Anodynes, won the 2016 Tupelo Open Prose award. She lives in an intentional co-housing community with her partner and their two daughters.


Women were Phenobarbital zombies

epileptic moths ate well into the 70’s

but the carpet remained, every birthday

mom slept under a lot of deaths

to make gratitude “possible,” a game we played

under the table under the sea

remedies to make us “if” and “but”

walk on the furniture for fifteen years

the same but


How do I love thee, let me count

the days we drew all skeletons

from the deck while above the TV

a lone bat cornered the breath

the cigarette’s extinction

from the pack, Miss Universe

and I in the swimsuit, mom

sleep on the kitchen tile

competition, next year I’ll graduate

high with highest distinction


Which invented money being smashed

did you want me on the frontispiece

of a fast-moving metaphor?

The best of all possible wars I know

but seven months of rocket launch

simulations undo the mortal

coil around an index pointed up

or down with the domestic this

the best of all possible beers

animals, servants, violence, in a word

worlds, gentleman, start your engines.

Mercury enters by mouth.



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