Antonia Clark works for a medical software company in Burlington,
Vermont, and is co-administrator of an online poetry workshop, The
. Recent poems have appeared in The 2River View, Anderbo,
Apparatus Magazine, The Cortland Review, Soundzine, Umbrella, and
elsewhere. She loves French food and wine, and plays French café
music on a sparkly purple accordion.

Optical Aberrations and Other Anomalies

Apparent motion can be
a trick of light.

the displacement of stars,
a blurring at the edge
of sight,

the way the angle of rain
changes as you move
through it,

properties of aquamarine,
and those you bring
to it.

Refraction, reflection,
a slick sideslip between

what we know and guess,
between the seer
and the seen.

The sleights of art,
illusions wrought
by the practiced dancer,

the deflection of a question
that has no answer.

House of Cards

Once we argued over details
of construction—

the number of rooms, pitch
of the roof—

forgetting doors until we found
ourselves locked inside.

Too late to repair shaky stories,
shore up a crumbling foundation,

we pass without words,
shuddering at distant rumbles,
the shrill from the trestle.

Walls wobble at every tremor,
shiver toward collapse.

Outside, our useless blue bicycles
lean against the walls.

This Poem Is Concerned

with hiding places,
with corners and holes,
shadows, the slender space
behind the door, the dark
envelope under the bed.

with bones and stones,
with mineral deposits
and calcification.
with chalk dust, grains
of sand, grit and gristle.

with the body's busyness,
its murmurs and catches,
stridor and wheeze, crackle
and rale and crepitation.

with camouflage, cover-up,
a swath of gauze, hastily
wound to conceal curve
and hollow, the true shape
of its emptiness.

Hot Topic

Temperature's the thing
everyone fusses over—
which is fitting, given
the alternatives.

A constant presence,
unsubtle, its existence
never in dispute.
Nor does it require
prayers or sacrifices.

It's immediate, relevant,
sweeps us into paroxysms
of conversation,
everything suddenly
a matter of degree.

We bear witness, testify
in hushed voices
about its extremes,
trace its peaks and troughs
on charts and tables,

Should the scientists ever
prove it imaginary, we'd still
cling to our belief. After all
it's given us, we need it
more than ever.

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