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.