Clare Banks



It begins with a fire in the dry brush
at dusk, smoke from the burning. The brick
yard where I’m sitting is gritty with sand
and the stubborn stalks of weeds. I watch
the fire jump at the black walnut’s branches—
an early fall, the wind has picked their slight
arms clean and bends the flowers to their beds.
There’s no room here for waiting. It’s not loss
I sense, or fear’s remission. Not absence,
heat or order failing. It’s hunger, say,
or want — a revision of months, this whole
year. A turn from each timid thought or step.
You leave the house, walk toward me, your steps like
someone flying. You think we have been spared.


CLARE BANKS is associate editor of Smartish Pace. She received her MFA in poetry from the University of Maryland. Her poems have been published in Poems & Plays and The Louisville Review, among others. She lives in Baltimore.