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Two Poems by Dante Clark

Updated: Dec 13, 2022

How Soon Before the Locusts

Thoughts & prayers my ass. Next door,

Raheem’s back on his bullshit with the oven

& the exposed gas line again & I gotta go to work

soon. It could be said that I believe in medicine

as much as the next former overdose.

When they found my father—his tub

still full of water—I was 900 miles away

with an action figure floating face-first in mine.

I guess I know time by its heavy handed delivery.

It’s cynical bell tower gong that knows I’m running

late again. I can’t believe I have to leave my bedroom

for this cold world of stares & strange dilemmas.

For undependable train lines. Is it bad to want another plague

that’ll save me from leaving my house? Sweet useful despair.

G-d, somewhere, tired of my weird requests is busy

with the clouds. They are beautiful. They are always

so beautiful. But, fuck it, where’s the fire?

and then the water spoke back

after Irene Vázquez

and said,

i be brown just like you

though i shouldn’t be

dripping from this leaky faucet

and elsewhere

i’m a puddle that’s been stepped in

and stared at

reflections being the only way

not to drown in me

and somewhere far away

i’m a fresh body spilling

from a spring

cupped into fidgety palms

drink me cold

drink me from the river that feels like home

or not

because dysentery is a thing

and yes, i am a river too

and an ocean

guiding you to land you’ve never met before

and i guess, not so far away from that

i’m two fingers

pinching the coast of what you call a country

i’m a flood somewhere that’s been forgotten

by that country

i’m a whole entire world around a goldfish

and it’s summer, always,

at a beach where people love me

where i’m wave after wave after loving

them too

and i’m salt in the eyes of a child that’s there

and i’m sorry for the burn

and i’m bottled in plastic that’s labeled


obviously do not drink me

and there’s another bottle,


floating on top of me

with a message tucked inside

i don’t know if it’ll ever be read

i don’t know what will come after this moment

before anything at all

i was rain

Dante Clark (he/him) is a writer from the Bronx, A two-time Pushcart nominee, his work has been featured in The Root, Afropunk, wildness, Brooklyn Poets’ Poet of the Week, The Slowdown, Adroit Journal, and elsewhere.

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