Patricia Clark: “Quarantine”




I gather the eight
days in Venice
into a garland
to wrap around my wrist
or maybe as a braid
to weave into
my hair. I pierce
gathered buds with
needle and thread,
making a blossom row,
yellow, red, white,
and pink, repeat,
repeat. It takes
an ego to make
of captivity a song.
I lean out on my
balcony, yellow wall
and white balustrade—
where I bow once
to the Giardini Reali—
lush garden below me
whose pergola I came
to love—and second
to the Isola di San
Giorgio Maggiore—
thank you for your steady
Easter bells, for your
upright standing in full
moonlight and for
allowing me to bend
and cry a little for what’s
always lost no matter
how we crack open
our mouths, wetting our
lips, trying to send a word
or two out on our
singular breath.



Patricia Clark is the author of six volumes of poetry, most recently Self-Portrait with a Million Dollars (2020), and three chapbooks. She has new work just out or forthcoming in Southern Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, North American Review, Cimarron Review, and the anthology The Wonder of Small Things: Poems of Peace & Renewal, edited by James Crews. Clark is professor emerita of Writing at Grand Valley State University.

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