Three poems

by Antonia Clark

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My body’s a map
of ravage and mirage—

a topography of hard
knowledge dredged

from unforgiving hills,
the deep crevasse—

cities left to smolder
countries to decay.

The more I unfold myself,
the more visible the world.

My Other Country

Expect wind,
a bleak expanse.

Along the border,
maintain vigilance.

In its distances,
relinquish knowledge.

In its heartland,

No tigers, dragons.
Only the trek

ahead. Mountains
and no way back.

The Forester’s Wife

He wooed me in greenwood, beneath beech
and butternut, among fir and pine.

Sang of aspen and ash, dogwood, juniper,
yellowwood, and yew. His tune

the wind in spring leaves, hands rough as bark,
gentle as leaf-brush.

He showed me seedling, sapling, and shrub,
taught me to love the tender stem, budding branch.

At night he sighed his litany into my sleep—
sugar maple, sweetgum, truelove tree—

until it became the scaffold of my dreams,
the understory of our days.

And in the fall, the needles and nutshell,
the fleshy fruit, dark canopy overhead,
rustle of the forest night, its floor our bed.

Oh, heartwood, Oh, passion oak.
I whisper in his ear.
Oh, flame in the woods.


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