Antonia Clark

I sing a lover's praises, but cannot woo this poem.
Why night after night do I attempt this poem?

I set out bowls of apricots, honey, almonds,
a glass of sweet gold wine to tempt this poem.

It sleeps in a tangle of sweaty sheets, refuses
to dress, wanders the house unkempt, this poem.

Gunshots, flares, and sirens in the street.
Emergencies conspire to preempt this poem.

I undress slowly, offer myself, urgent, trembling.
It has nothing for me but contempt, this poem.

It rears, retreats. It flies. It slips beneath a wave.
Tonight, I'll try again, for it is not exempt, this poem.


First published in Waterways, 2009

ANTONIA CLARK works as a medical writer and editor. She has taught poetry and fiction writing and is co-administrator of an online poetry forum, The Waters. She is the author of a chapbook, Smoke and Mirrors (Finishing Line Press, 2013), and the full-length poetry collection, Chameleon Moon (David Robert Books, 2014). Her poems and short stories have appeared in numerous print and electronic journals, including Anderbo, The Cortland Review, Eclectica, The Missouri Review, The Pedestal Magazine, Rattle, and Softblow. She loves French picnics and plays French café music on a sparkly purple accordion.