Two Poems

Ben Clark & Colin Winette

The Spell to Remove Her Spell​

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Remember night Tall Palms. Repeat this when the repetition is all you are willing to answer.Remember the ripple when your toes passed over her toes. Remember how she wanted to be wanted. How she must still.Remember how gently she approached when she knew the floor would creak and you were still asleep on her bed.Admit, for both of you, writing is no longer easy as skipping stones. Admit that you forget her again and again. That at times you read her letters out of obligation.Admit that not everything is contained within this border of dust where the kitchen table once was, or in the arranging and rearranging of letters that smell of someone in particular. That writing may now be about creasing each memory and folding it unreadable. Admit that at times you cannot decide whether to stay silent or shake the silence to death. Admit that you are talking to yourself. Admit that every story you tell makes her into more of a stranger.

 

we spoke of nothing in particular and ate strawberries

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He didn’t say it once or twice, instead sliced the night into smaller nights. He tore through the garden kicking over tomato plants. He danced in the kitchen mapping the linoleum with wine. He lay across me on the couch finally asleep. He lost his sneer, and maybe I began to love him again. At a rest stop I abandoned my phone when it filled with messages, maybe all from him, maybe all repeating I would never kick you out into the street, failing to note he already had. I fell asleep watching a frigate being sunk off the coast. A hundred sailboats circled the ship. A crowd down the beach erupted with cheer. I could have been dreaming. I ended up in Agnes Waters and convinced the owners of sailboats I was a deep-sea diver and loved their town. I dined with wives and children, received invitations to return, accepted knowing I would not, and then drove until my engine shook to see how roughly I could force day into night. I did not rest. Stormed the parks of Noosa wearing one shoe like a soldier. Refused to brush my teeth and leaned across counters horribly hard of hearing, haunted still by messages, imagined vibrations in my jacket pocket. Weeks wasted seeking the boundaries of sadness. I could only travel so far before circling back. I spent nights mocking my sister’s love for her child through a payphone, cruel as only a sibling can be, imagining herself a length of string looped to a heavy stone. After a month apart, I shimmered, nearly invisible. He did not say he loved me. He took me home. The cottage appeared as it always had. I left the car hoping to shatter but I remained solid. Today he will send sweet messages while I train my breath to familiar air. I will garden, put my things where they belong, read your letters, then hide them. I cannot leave this place. I have known for weeks. I’m having his child. Stars hang behind daylight. They haven’t gone anywhere, or if they have, will return.

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About the Writers

Split Lip Magazine

The selected poems are from Kate Jury Denton Texas, a book written collaboratively by Ben Clark and Colin Winnette. Clark is the author of Reasons to Leave the Slaughter (Write Bloody 2011), which won the 2010 Write Bloody Book Contest. Winnette is the author of four books of fiction: Revelation (Mutable Sound 2011), Animal Collection (Spork Press 2012), and A Long Line of Diggers: Two Novellas (forthcoming Atticus Books 2013). He was a Finalist for the 1913 Press First Book Award. They can be found online at www.benclarkpoetry.com and

www.colinwinnette.com.