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This week some more scheduled sex. A trip to the Midwest. A sadness that manifests among brothers. Our sadness an exposed vacancy. It’s all we see now. Young couples with babies. Strollers with rain guards. Waterproof awnings. Young moms carrying babies close to their chests with umbrellas over their heads, fumbling to get the door. I walk easy through the rain. My only burden is me. We talked about fertility tests. No reason to keep struggling forward here if it won’t benefit anyone else. One thing I love about my husband is that he values his happiness even less than I do my own. It’s Monday and some kind of thunderstorm. Reminding us here on planet earth that the invisible weather systems can blow in at any moment. It’s sort of comforting how little it cares of us. The meme of a discarded mattress that reads None of this really mattress makes me laugh every time. It feels weak to want to make something that will make this all matter. I didn’t used to need this need. Like the gutter flushed from the rain.





Death watch sounds like a video game or a movie. Where the protagonist has to vigilantly guard against death. Needs to be on the lookout for the elusive death around every corner. Except your watch isn’t to apprehend. Your watch is to watch as death happens. A night watch. A watchman during an early May afternoon. It is a watch that you have prepared for though there has been more blood than you expected. The blood so thin that is slipped easily through the sutures. From your vantage point the room looked full of plastics wearing human bodies. The doctors have repeatedly said that he is very sick, which you interpret to mean that he is dying. And he is. If it goes the way you want it to it will happen with you there. It will happen with others there who are also watching too. On the train there is a young blond girl with a red shirt who is smiling excitedly with her friend whose back is slightly sunburned from the unexpected sun this afternoon. From this vantage point her life looks radiant and untouched by sorrow. But at most its look is true for now. If true at all. Sunburn leaves a mark on the body for a short duration in time. The body regenerative and self-healing. On death watch self-healing is a modern phenomenon. A relief of swelling in combination with particular antibodies. Stabilization with tubes for breathing. Just to stabilize. At the Hoboken stop everyone rearranged their position on the train for a better spot. Once people get off there is room for improvement, there is space to stand a little more naturally. I have taken this train over the course of many years. Many different pairs of shoes and temperatures. More often than not alone. Yesterday a royal wedding. Last night a call for help. I am writing this for you and you. Humans who have found themselves here and then found in me a life. It is a full pain to not be keeping watch too. Our only recourse to text updates. To have a side text with your brother’s girlfriend. Do we understand the situation to be the same. Even in your lousy might your charm idles across decades of disappointment and forgiveness. Is it these decisions that have brought you here, or an ad hoc of dominos?





Having turned
There isn’t a way
Back to previous
Iterations and idolatry
Through the air
Among others
Your flight in
Physical and emotional
Leaving and returning
It is natural in a way
Departing and arriving
Asking that room be made
For you
For others
Hunger isn’t
Like anything
Except hunger
Being human
Is basic shucking
By plane train or automobile
Nothing is that
To me





Acute weather dismay leads to unjournaling. In the rain the rain is all that matters. These recordings find less matter. One session equals 13 needles. If the blood flow is stagnant the living body cannot heal itself. Aid for the body. The body can have its own answer if the answer it upends is desirable. We are all alive in our own ways. Plain spoken text unavailable in the moment. Unable to access my own vulnerability. Everything my own. An easier way to feel my disposition shift. This morning no memories of child’s play. A known mothering acknowledgement like knowing to usually let the first train pass. Growing to be stuck in a different way. A new taste for a white tee. Even the black can lose its pedestal. A slow block on the ice floe. Another goodbye to a family pet. Our mothering expressed through tears. A familiar life perhaps our deeper pursuit. Or maybe just mine. To be lost in the immediate vibrancy a chore. A poem of another heart.



Jackie Clark

Jackie Clark is the author of Aphoria (Brooklyn Arts Press) and the chapbooks Office Work (Greying Ghost), I Live Here Now (Lame House Press), and Sympathetic Nervous System (Bloof Books). Her writing is forthcoming in The Tinyand the anthology Ritual and Capitalco-published by Wendy’s Subway and Bard Graduate Center. A new chapbook, Depression Parts, is forthcoming from dancing girl press. She works at Eugene Lang College for Liberal Arts at The New School and teaches creative writing at New Jersey City University. She can be found online at


The Brooklyn Rail

SEPT 2018

All Issues