Oct/Nov 2008 Poetry Special Feature

Two Word Poems

by Antonia Clark


I am a woman who has learned
to appreciate punctuation—the sweet
shy comma, a barely audible whisper,
the curl of a wet tongue in your ear
before you're pulled into the flow;

who succumbs to semicolons,
to the throb of breathlessness
at that almost end-stopped pause;
when you know there's more to come—
and then, and then the coming undone;

who cannot overlook any colon's
brisk insistence, its bold demand:
this is going to be important.
Listen up: if you miss this, everything
up until now will have been in vain;

or the finality, the fearlessness
of periods. They tell it like it is.
This really is the end, my girl.
No use crying. Any moment,
you'll begin again, delve
into a sentence,
a whole new story.

Dawn in the Glass House

To recall the audible ice, the creaking lake,
the way you stood rigid at the window
waiting for everything to break apart

is reminder enough. The old decade
had begun to come undone, a threadbare
robe slipped from my empty arms.

No need to delve into reasons, recount
unjust demands. That morning, I read
your answers in the set of your shoulders.

Shivering in milky half-light, I burned
up my questions like dry kindling, fed them
one by one to the leaky, smoking stove.


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