Emily Clark
The Baldwin School

An excerpt from “The Wake”

For Eve

I woke up with the taste of vinegar,
Folding small, paper cranes under my tongue,
The bitterness so sharp, I could bite it.

The morning smelled of stale, yellow, rain clouds,
Like the kind I washed my teeth with last June
When the light from my window fell in cracks.

And I thought about the day Daddy died,
How my fingers smelled like brass after I
Turned his bedroom doorknob with unclean palms.

He never slept on Sundays, believing
In the fear of God and air and living,
Washing the Scriptures down with cold coffee.

Lying uncovered, he looked forgotten,
His arms flung open on smooth cotton sheets
Like he had fallen trying to hold some

Thing or one or time that he always asked
For, but never received because want fades
With age or did he say age fades with want?