When someone asks, in a hundred years,

what was the point of all the guns?

the answers will be varied.

Men lived like fire flies, then,

afraid of day, one person will

say. Another will suggest

the doors had already lost

their hinges so why not?

In grandmother’s houses bars of soap

that read VOTE

will be discovered. In breakfast rooms

the walls will hold samplers

stitched with BE HAPPY. Some families hid

gold under floorboards

and others just had TVs. Commercials

sold impossible

dreams and no one remembered how to spell

HELP. Help

was in all the wrong places and the only

trees left to pray

beneath were either thirsty or drowned.

No in between earth

anymore; no streams that mattered but

revenue. No fertile valley,

just endless shore. No place to rest

a screaming head.

Meriwether Clarke is a poet, essayist, and educator living in Los Angeles, California. She holds degrees in poetry from Northwestern University and UC Irvine’s Programs in Writing where she served as co-editor-in-chief and Poetry Editor of Faultline Journal of Arts and Letters. Recent work can be seen in Prairie Schooner, Tin House, The Michigan Quarterly Review, Best New Poets, The Journal, Gigantic Sequins, The Superstition Review, and Poetry Daily, among others. She has been a scholarship resident at the Vermont Studio Center and a fellow at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Her chapbook, twenty-first century woman, was released from Dancing Girl Press in 2019.