Chloe N. Clark is a current MFA candidate. Her work has appeared such places as
Booth, Bombay Gin, The Stoneslide Corrective, and more. She has shot the moon on
a hold hand. So don't play against her in Hearts but do follow her @PintsNCupcakes.


Drowning often goes unnoticed
by onlookers. The human body's
response to the intake of water

into the lungs is without sound
and involves only the slightest
of movements. There are myths

that the body struggles, waves for
help, but those are myths. The body,
at a certain point, is past fighting.

When rescuing someone drowning,
the victim often will be unable to
reach out, take hold of the arms

of the rescuer. People who survive
near-drowning will sometimes
have nightmares for years after.

In the dreams, they will be
unable to act in emergencies:
children will get stolen from

their arms, lovers will fall backwards
off of cliffs, and always, always,
the dreamer will only watch

as their world disappears from them,
as the waves climb higher, as the
world shimmers and shimmers.

When Everyone Else Says After

The phone rings, trilling
field of crickets, and

She still runs to pick
it up, breathless "hello"

And it's never for her,
anymore, and she holds it out

to her mother, father,
sister, or hangs up "wrong number"

At night she dreams deep
of her best friend, sitting

on a stone-strewn lake
shore. She is gathering

Pebbles, piling them up
on her lap, glistening

Against her dark-washed
jeans. Her best friend

Picks up one, small and round
and white as snow cones before

The syrup drench, and she
places it in her mouth. She

Swallows it, one gulp, and
says it's for "safe-keeping."


After the marriage ended, everyone
said "well, at least, you're still
young,� but, I felt hollowed out
like a paper-cast model
of a human being.

One time, I saw a woman
carrying a fish bowl up a slanted
sidewalk, and the bowl was filled
with water but nothing living, and I
wanted to say to her, "I'm sorry
that everything is so pointless."

Right before we separated, he said
to me, "I'm sorry I wasted
your time," and that was somehow
much worse than if he had said,
"I'm sorry that I stopped loving you."

Late at night, on
the television, I saw a news segment
on a man who scuba-dived in some underwater
cave and disappeared, and the newscaster
said, as if this could solve the mystery,
"he was quite young," and I wondered
what that meant.


The oddness of almonds
can be tasted on the tongue
long after the memory is gone

and when I think of ships
in outer space, bursting
into dust, I remember

the color of the ocean
the night we slept on
the beach and woke to

the tide lapping at our feet
and you pointed out
that humans feel peaceful

when seeing horizons with-
out ending and that is why
you dreamed of space

The candies, sweet and sticky,
you placed on my tongue
melted quickly and I drank

cold water to quench the thirst
given by sugar and you, upon
leaving, said you could taste

almonds on my lips, and I
watched the sky for nights
thinking I could see you

as part of the stars, and you are
part of the stars, bursting with
light, falling to dust, and I can

taste almonds, still, sweet
and distant like the sound
of your name on my tongue

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