OXIDANT | ENGINE : Issue 4

Chloe Clark

There is No Matter in It

 

We find our necessity

in vacuums:

 

of space, of sound, of time,

of the whoosh-whooshing

of your grandmother

smoothing through the rooms

of her mostly empty home.

 

You have a new friend

who tells you:

I wish you knew me

when I was happy,

I liked me better then.

She sucks iced tea

through a neon straw

and it sounds like drains,

like feet getting stuck

in the just rained on mud.

 

Your grandmother told you,

once, that cleaning is the best

way to remember you’re alive:

the traces through dust, the evapor-

ating smear of soap on glass.

 

The dog offends cliché:

enjoying the vacuum’s

whine, the paths it leaves

in rugs. He is ready to wear

them down with paws.

 

Your friend calls you to say:

she can’t hear your voice

through the line. You sound

like you’ve been pulled

through tunnels, she says.

 

Once you were young enough

to sit cross-legged on chairs,

as your grandmother swooped

around you. She said: I wish

I was born now, so I could grow up

to be an astronaut.

 

The mouth of the Hoover drank

dust from under your chair.

Your grandmother said:

space must strip

so much away

when it holds you.

Chloe N. Clark's work appears in Glass, Hobart, Uncanny, Yes, and more. She is the Co-EIC of Cotton Xenomorph and her chapbook, The Science of Unvanishing Objects is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press. Find her on Twitter @PintsNCupcakes.