Two Poems by Conyer Clayton


Our bodies build
a thickening layer

a hammock of fascia
to relax backward into

We reabsorb all
bone fragments

push away threats
that are not threats

but fabric
but silk

to wrap me in
We all want
to be held tightly
yet move freely

Can’t you tell the difference?



I am a geography of strangled rivers.
I shrink, dry body —

pit of dust you refuse
to stare into.
What area for mining gold?
What offshoot to breed beetles?
Settle in. Grow gills. One day

you’ll reach both sides of me
with outstretched arms. Spread eagle
on my expanse (hardly room
for expanse itself).

Mother is melted rubber.
Daughter has sheltered skin.
Child — oh! Flash of colour!
Older and older and older.

Just let me
or not.

Let me be
a heavy dog sleeping
on the driveway.

I won’t move when you sound the horn.
I just got comfortable, dammit.

Conyer Clayton has 6 chapbooks, recently Trust Only the Beasts in the Water (above/ground press, 2019). She won The Capilano Review’s 2019 Robin Blaser Poetry Prize, and writes reviews for Canthius. Her debut full-length collection of poetry, We Shed Our Skin Like Dynamite, is forthcoming May 2020 with Guernica Editions.

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