Meditation on my catastrophic progression memorialized in bull kelp

Clair Dunlap


what i learn to do is not take it so easily,
like a bird opening her mouth & having it stuffed full
of cotton lies until i choke on my own story.

instead, the creek i put my feet in boils



instead, i snap the bull kelp open like cartilage



instead of the salal’s berry, a bruise
rainier, a thick molar
pocketknife, easy as a promise –




instead of mt. st. helens , my red throat


Clair Dunlap grew up just outside Seattle, Washington, and started writing poems at the age of six. She is the author of In the Plum Dark Belly (Beard Poetry, 2016) and her work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in Glass: A Journal of Poetry, L’Éphémère Review, Hobart, Peach Mag, Up the Staircase Quarterly, Occulum, Noble / Gas Qtrly and more. She currently lives in the Midwest and answers research questions in an academic library.



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