photo of hammerhead sharks

Two Poems by Chloe N. Clark


The eye doctor gives me a look
of concern, he asks
“do you drive?”
and I say no, have never
and he says “well, that’s good.
You have barely any peripheral
vision. Have you ever noticed that?”

Have I ever noticed the things
I don’t notice? I shake my head,
though maybe it explains
so much.

As a child, I loved hammerhead
sharks, loved the shape of them,
the way they never looked ahead
and so could not see
the future.

Later, I learned that it’s believed
the sharks evolved that way
to see above and below them
to see more than we can

I thought that knowledge too was a kind
of loss

But no one has ever died
from a hammerhead shark
and they are still
going extinct

They don’t see anything coming

“I bet you’re easy to surprise”
the eye doctor jokes
and I nod
because I’m always
failing to notice
what to look out for

Take Your Pick

The trading cards of states
add up to make a country
if you collect them all,
that’s what the woman at the desk
told us and

I forgot Montana was a state
until my friend grabbed
the trading card of it,
held it in front of my face,
and said “how did you ever
win a Geography Bee?”

The truth is I shouldn’t have
the truth is that I only knew the name
of that volcano because I dreamed
so often of being thrown
into it

so I say “I was a weird kid?”
and I study the shape of the state
I forgot and it isn’t the first time
I’ve forgotten states:

of mind, of being, of matter.
I told someone once
that the state of being in love
was like permanent dislocation

from the life before you had felt
it and it was your body always aching
to be touched
when your love was in the same room
the same building
the same city
the same planet
but I forgot that state too eventually

And my friend says “do you
know anything about Montana?”
I respond without thinking “the first
prison there
was built by an outlaw.”

All those facts I meant to lose.

Chloe N. Clark‘s work appears in Cease, Cows, Little Fiction, Glass, Uncanny, and more. She is co-EIC of Cotton Xenomorph, writes for Nerds of a Feather, and her debut chapbook, The Science of Unvanishing Objects, is out from Finishing Line Press. Find her on Twitter @PintsNCupcakes.

Lead image“GRNMS – hammerhead” (via Flickr user NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries)