PATRICIA CLARK


Self-Portrait with a Million Dollars


Near a painted boulder with names of teams, high schools, sits the exit
      we take now to the graves.

Near the hill scotch-broomed gold, that roaming place, the some-
      time swamp, where I see myself with my small brothers,

three of us holding hands.

Near the heart of it all, the family whole, before anyone
      was sundered, though Ann

was about to leave us—I glimpse her outside, leaning over to kiss
      a boy in a red car.

It was so long ago, there weren’t zip codes or cell phones,
      or the internet—

and the world's fair was in Seattle, our grandmother flying in
      elegant—hat and white gloves—from Boston.

Muscle memory holds so much, landscape memory, too.

That overpass, exit, boulder, hill—with a convoy motoring
      west, how for months I’d begged Father

to take us to see it—a million dollars in silver dollars
      coming out of the east, a police escort

guiding it to the fair.

Near the railing, next to Father, I stood watching while a semi
       blew past, dirt kicking up, pollen, road dust, freeway still
      being built—

a motor parade gone in an eye blink—I hadn’t understood
      I’d never see a single, silver, gleaming coin.
CAVE WALL PRESS, LLC
Patricia Clark  (is the author of The Canopy (Terrapin Books, 2017), her fifth book
of poetry. She teaches at Grand Valley State University where she is also the poet
in residence. Find her recent work in
Alaska Quarterly Review, Blackbird, New
Letters, Smartish Pace,
and elsewhere.