Joanne M. Clarkson


by Joanne M. Clarkson

Skin made of newspaper: black on 
     white with patches of war, murder, 
weather and empty crossword 
         boxes.  They stand 

face forward with legs spread, verbs 
      for eyes, seeing the  
doing, and curved dark 
         tears.  The Daily. 

But oh to be the Sunday Comics. 

Bent at the waist, they ride the northbound 
     bus, left by a child tired from a day, 
a long journey of unwanted travel. 

A grandmother who always carries 
     scissors in her purse to snip out 
clothing tags or carve a person. 

 A man in the next seat who reads 
         without seeing then gladly 
 hands the world over 
               to be re-shaped into 

pirates and movie starlets or a family 
      with too many mothers. 

And even in the dark garage 
     where they are swept 
and crumpled, they still 
      shout from bins in rain 

 or,  burning, whisper partial 
      names of those 
convicted, those set free.


Joanne M ClarksonJoanne M. Clarkson is the author of two collections of poems: Pacing the Moon (Chantry Press) and Crossing Without Daughters (March Street Press). Her work has appeared recently in Paterson Literary Review, Valparaiso Review, Caesura, and Hospital Drive. She holds a Master’s Degree in English and has taught, but currently works as a Registered Nurse specializing in Hospice and Community Nursing. Joanne lives in Olympia, Washington, with her husband, James.

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