In the morning, I eat grapes and

sip black coffee. I want

my arms to be as narrow as

a staircase in a tower.

There is a lot to sit with, here:

namely, is it me

or them who place my limbs

in a small glass jar

and walk away? The future is history,

I once read. And

if that’s true, I’ll collect stares

like coins until I weigh

three hundred pounds. Again, I’ll

sit and try

to cross my legs in a modest way.

Again, I’ll avoid doctors,

continue to prefer predicted death by

heart attack to shame.

The truth is, I think I’ll outlast

sidewalks, keep bleeding

every month until I’m out

of possibility. Like grass

edging a building, I’ll learn to love

kissing stone.

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.