Two Poems by Chloe Clark

All the Tea that My Creepy Heart Desires

Lapsang souchong, oolong,
or maybe pu-erh, tasting of hay, of smoke,
of the sun rising in pine forests, but I could be wrong

there was that time I awoke
in a room by a lake, far away from you,
and outside my window, the fog hung heavy as smoke

I drank tea to warm up, curled under a blanket or two
and I thought of writing you a letter
of putting in words everything I felt was true

I wondered if you ever thought “just forget her”
maybe as you drank a cup of Earl Grey,
but no, you always liked assam better

And I got so sad that I spent the day
not writing you a letter, steeping in memory
drinking cup after cup, thinking of what not to say

But I was wrong then, you called me up, said you missed me
and forgetting I wasn’t home, put water on for tea

The Other Side of This is Still Here

Thinking it will help, we take
the word down to its roots:
hope, the greatest good, we live
in the best
of all possible worlds, and good will

ultimately prevail. But in our minds
we think in statistics, in the nightmare
we had last night, in the reports read
in staccato voices, sounding of the mid-

dle of the country. We dream of the lake
we knew as children, the water so cold
that we thought we’d shiver right out
of our skin, and how we haven’t been
back there in years—always saying soon,

soon, next time, next year, next summer
and then we become unsure if we even
remember the sound of the waves right
but we still have that “soon” in our mouths

soonsoonsoonsoonsoonsoon. We talk
ourselves out of so many things: the hopes
we kept as children, the thoughts we have
upon waking, but in there we sometimes
remember a voice and we want to yell

we are here, we are listening, we are hoping
for words. Tell us that there is
something, tell us that there is some—

one and still I want to tell you that optimism
is waking up and realizing that you
are somewhere near.


about the author:

Chloe N. Clark holds an MFA in Creative Writing & Environment. Her work appears in Apex, Bartleby Snopes, Hobart, Midwestern Gothic, a previous issue of Vending Machine, and more. She can be found on Twitter @PintsNCupcakes

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