Clarity is a Devilish Word Thank the uncles and the grocery clerks, the street sweepers and the kind fellow at the lottery desk and take yourself out of the picture. The frame is old and cracked and not worth a penny. Remember prayers beside your bed? Let those dissolve into acid rain. Remember pouring milk into miniature cereal boxes? That was religion. Spend the day listing countries with unrest. Repeat. The windows are too high for washing. The soot, the dirt, the clouds of grime; what a filter to look through. What a dimming. Even the rain makes no difference, as fierce as it is, pounding on the glass in silver bullets. Hindrance The conscience as small molecules drifting through your blood. Predictions that are bogus with hope. A lack of maps or too many maps or the wrong map. Childhood prayers burned into your soul. The notion of a soul. Forgiveness that refuses to dislodge. The bad luck that may not be luck at all. Night blindness. Characters with similar names Exhaustion, real or imagined. The Lives of the Saints Past obsessions with Vladimir Nabokov and the nagging need to re-read all of his work. So much forgotten that might have been happiness. A Series of Questions, Does It Get Us Anywhere? Ghost ships slip blithely out of the clouds. How does this happen? We’ve broken lies apart, cambered each into yearning and there, you can have anything, even thunder, even cheap whiskey. Against the odds, pathos. How does this play out? Reluctantly or wickedly, how we might frame the storm, though it is such bad timing. Persimmon, as in a Mercury sedan from the blurred 1950s, made up, remembered, misappropriated. Does it matter now with no one to ask? Just drive, over the rough earth and scattered bones, the tired grass, the gravel, the names of your old friends who wouldn’t know you if you fell in their laps, if you came crying in the dark sweep of a January night. Mercedes Lawry has published poetry in such journals as Poetry, Prairie Schooner, Rhino, Nimrod, Poetry East, The Saint Ann’s Review, and others. She’s also published fiction, humor and essays, as well as stories and poems for children. Among the honors she’s received are awards from the Seattle Arts Commission, Hugo House, and Artist Trust. She’s been a Jack Straw Writer, a Pushcart Prize nominee twice, and held a residency at Hedgebrook. Her chapbook, “There are Crows in My Blood”, was published in 2007 and another chapbook, “Happy Darkness,” was released in 2011. She lives in Seattle.