Jeanette Clough


If you sit by rivers long enough they will blend.
The trick is waiting for your pulse
to match the rhythm of earthly liquid,
veins to be the rivers of a body's continent.

A fisherman wades a few feet from shore
to catch what has already landed on your plate.
Every river here is muddy. These funnels
near the equator carry runoff from the Himalayas,
rainwater and waste in equal suspension.

In firing, the potter's clay may fold in on itself

to abstraction. This is displayed too.
Among the predictable beauties, a crazed lotus
twists into celadon from neck to foot,
the cracked pattern scrolling around curves
whose beginning and end look the same.

A lost sandal bumps against the boat dock.

Jeanette Clough


The celadon jar I bargain for is flawed
with a swirling puckered kiss from its maker.
A lotus spins in the corner of my eye.

The foot that wore the sandal took another road.
For many lives, I walked with one foot unshod,
not remembering where the other sandal was lost.
Doesn't matter. Everyone's river empties into a sea.

Desire is the cause of suffering,
they say. I desire to defy suffering.

The warriors of good and evil dance past me
and wave as they go by. I recognize them all.
They dance to the end of the world, then jump.

The crash is inevitable.

Sand spins in the corner of my eye
and scratches to get out. I collect a beach
in my palm so I can escape to the shore of long ago.
If I blow across the dunes of sleep, dreams will scatter
into the air. I am devoted to their illusion.

Each spoke of the wheel has a name.
None of the names are mine.

I must not fill my empty hand with another illusion, but I must.

I sing myself to sleep.

Jeanette Clough's poetry appears or is forthcoming in Ohio Review, Denver Quarterly, Wisconsin Review, and Fine Madness. Her book, Celestial Burn (Sacred Beverage Press 1999) received a Pushcart Prize nomination.


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