Three Poems by Lauren Clark 






His funeral is postponed
days, then weeks. 

Several states away, I walk in circles
on the unmelted ground. 

I translate the famous Catullus poem three times. 
Not the one about give me a million

, but the other one, the one where Catullus
travels across the world so

he can bury his drowned brother. 
Useless stuff starts piling up everywhere

—casseroles, cookies, condolences, 
bouquets. I am the cookies. I am the flower

arrangements, I am the one writing this, 
I am the church where I pray. Please          God, 

stay with me until I die. Without you           I am unsalvageable, 
my family is dead
. The funeral, 

when it happens, is late and offensive, 
ridiculous as a wedding cake.







A dad puts his arm around you while you watch the gulls
swoop for scraps of tourists’ food and tells you he is proud
of your capacity for feeling.

He does not want to see you hurt, he says, because you are
smart and good, and still learning, so hurt is a waste of time
and, though when he died previously

the only feelings were relief and sorrow, but mostly relief,
you realize you have missed him. You don’t biologically
inherit anything from this dad

but he puts his arm around you anyway, there, and then
again to steer you away from the ship’s railing, and again
once you’re back on the mainland,

and again, years earlier, in a train station in rural Illinois,
and once he takes your hand in an Indian restaurant with
fogged up windows. Once

he races a snowstorm to pick you up from an airport in his
salt-specked minivan, and once he takes your photograph
and it looks like you. Once he dies

after you lived a nice life together
with no violence







You were never at the lake,
but you were near it the night you found an old shotgun
and did with it a number of things I’m not going to say in this poem.

That part is your story.
What happens next belongs to the wolves.

They come through the blue of trees and winter, toward
the rectangular light of the cabin’s long plate glass window
beyond which your friends, deeply in love, sit on a couch.
Projected as if in a movie theater. Presented as if on a platter.

And the wolves in their fur—skin so dense and coarse
and full of things most of us cannot imagine—move forward
and forward, into the light and unseen. Glass reflects the lit
bodies of the friends, the sofa on which they sit, the piano
silent behind them, the remains of their dinner waiting
in the kitchen, back at them. All they see is their own
parallel bodies.

It looks like love but it is wolves watching.
They could bound through that plate glass any moment
for dinner, and suffer no bodily injury whatsoever,
and though it didn’t happen at Love Lake
that’s what it has to do with Love Lake.