Lauren Clark


There is a sorrow being outside your body
even when I am in the places where it has been.

Like your kitchen, secretly and quietly
eating honey with your spoon, your spoon
which has so often been inside your mouth.

This sorrow makes me know: the vows
I said at the altar were not the real vows.

The real vows come in the middle of the night
when we wake for no reason. I am facing the wall
and you are holding me, slackly, with your body.

I ask you a question. I have not spoken it before.
And through sleep you answer—not I do, or I will,

or even yes, or silence. You say As long as I can.
And fall asleep again. I turn over and press my back
to the wall. Using my right hand, in darkness,

I measure your body beneath the sheet.
Two of my fingers, width of your hipbone.

My whole palm, hollow between hip and cock.
So that when you are gone—and you will be gone—
I can recognize you onto some other body.

This is the vow. I will never leave you.
No. I will remake you again and again.

Sleep through it if you want to.

Lauren ClarkLauren Clark‘s writing has appeared most recently in The Journal, Hayden’s Ferry Review, and the Phantom Limb Emerging Poets Issue. She works at Poets House in New York City.

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