One Poem

Robin Clarke


Coffins come in four sizes—standard, baby, child, big&tall—but increased numbers necessitate a new approach to the problem of entombment. The essential difference is Chopin played from the rectum, Liszt from the spleen. To keep from eating, most anorexics learn to make food taste as repulsive as possible. If you wouldn't call me, I wouldn't pretend to be unconscious. A hearse may be lined with sateen or velvet. Obviously, we cannot let the terminally ill fill in mad-lib worksheets for their treatment protocol. "Swear to make them cut me open, so I won't be buried alive," Chopin said. During the 19th century, Germany produced over thirty models of 'safety coffin': with ropes attached to church bells tied to the body's arms and legs; outfitted with breathing tubes; furnished with escape ladders to the surface of the earth.
             In Charles de Gaulle's favorite dream, Paris produced so many babies one year it ran out of space. Père-Lachaise had to be mounted on the Eiffel Tower, where all day it spun carrousel-like in the sky: over children and workers from dusk until dawn; at twilight circling back for the lovers of the damned.

Robin Clarke

Robin Clarke grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and received her M.A. in English from the University of Pittsburgh, where she is completing the M.F.A. in Poetry. She teaches composition and tutors the student-athletes there as well.