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. 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.