Two Poems | Maureen Clark

7 mins read

Dark matter moves the universe away                   from itself
hold your breath        the matter           with no name                   could be symmetry 
we don’t yet understand                                        this blue planet our home
plum-colored blossoms fall from the wisteria          and a faint smell of lilac
green vines                   tighten around the copper trellis         hold things together
the universe                  is a corpse flower about to bloom
Higgs-Boson    keeps the pieces together                 as we hurtle through space
we need more laughter                              (don’t you think) 
spilled like pennies                    on a dark floor                 more glue sticks
and glitter         more particles of god              at the center of it all


                                    Evidence of witchcraft, as a sign of women’s refusal to accept 
                                    their “place” in New England’s social order.
                                                                                                     Carol Karlsen

The men who wrote the books said                                                   witches could sing the moon down from
the sky                           and women should not allowed to speak in church

The Archbishop of Salzburg finally forbid                  the interpretation of bird song
               another the interpretation of sneezes

Eventually, the men agreed that an old woman could be miserable and not be hanged for it. 
               or a widow, or a poor woman, or an ugly one.

Witches were the only thing all the religions agreed on.         That, and the look 
               of a menstruating woman could tarnish a mirror

Women and magic went together                     like needles and thread 
               which were also tools of witchcraft 

And ointment to cure clap      dolls made of clay or mud
                anything made of words

Even now, women are not considered                     completely human
                they were accused of              having sex with the devil

but burned as heretics                  against the church
last week                       the BBC reported

there was a 7-year gap                                                   when doctors                 
did not              take women’s pain                                                              seriously

Maureen Clark is a newly retired Assistant Professor Lecturer from the University of Utah Department of Writing and Rhetoric Studies. She was the president of Writers @ Work, a non-profit International Writing Conference from 1999-2001, the editor of Ellipsis: Literature and Art 1993-1995, and the director of the University of Utah Writing Center 2010-2014. She lives in Bountiful, Utah. Her poems have appeared in: Bellingham Review, Colorado Review, Alaska Quarterly, Puerto del Sol, Prairie Schooner, The Southeast Review and Gettysburg Review, among others. She has written two poetry collections This Insatiable August and Cult of the Unnamed Saints