Marisa P. Clark


If a Heart Beats in the Forest…

Marisa P. Clark

Look how small
her love
has made this heart:

this lump of muscle
hunkered down
& hiding out

a feral creature
shackled & impounded
bumping at its cage

of ribs
with no desire
to return

to freedom & the wild
hard work
of the hunt.

See it shrink half
from hunger half
in fear it might break

bones or slip
through the spaces
get lost & have

to fend for itself

her open
hand that stroked
as if to tame

& take it home
but then withdrew

this pacing undumb
beast still aroused
& shuddering this

thumping drum
whose quickened beat
spreads loud

& far beyond
the forest she loves
me she loves
its roar

goes unlistened to
me not

Marisa P. Clark is a queer writer from the South whose work appears or will appear in Shenandoah,Cream City Review, Nimrod, Epiphany, Foglifter, Potomac Review, Rust + Moth, Louisiana Literature, and elsewhere. In 2011, Best American Essays recognized her creative nonfiction among its Notable Essays. Twice the winner of the Agnes Scott College Writers’ Festival Prizes (in fiction, 1996; in nonfiction, 1997), she reads fiction for New England Review. She makes her home in New Mexico with three parrots and two dogs.