“where were you
when the seas
– 'Sixteen Haiku' by Daniel Clark
My brother says passive smoking is worse—
worse than actual
smoking— you’re taking up / taking in
out of gratitude or, perhaps, for the sake
and your lungs / heart—full of tar—
are constantly on fire.
A friend, waving rings of air / of smoke
says what difference does quitting make
isn’t death the only constant?
Isn’t death the only constant?
He says it in a way that says he
has mastered the art of not having
regrets / of not giving in
to grief. He says it
without getting excited for the weekend
—which is four days later—and, here, you
are worried about tomorrow.
You’re worried about tomorrow
and tomorrow and tomorrow—
you want your veins / rivers
detoxified, which says
you’re acknowledging your mistakes
and of those you lent things to.
Still, you accept the mistakes as yours / like
saying what difference does quitting make
You want your rivers detoxified—
the synapses / the bridges
you keep looking for somewhere
to place an order / keep looking
for the beavers—
but they’ve finally made it to
the threatened / protected list—
they’ve now mastered the art of hiding.
are unlearning words like blue
—not sad—blue /
like aquamarine / words
like birds / like snow / like warmth.
You’re relearning words
like warming / like eutrophication /
like warming / warming / warming.
You want your rivers detoxified
while they have blood / water—
while they’re there.