The Dogs on East Susquehanna
Jo Clark

Every other window, a cartoon
of a four-legged friend, to warn
the fire department:
if this building is alight,
see now who is most important
to save.

Outside the same doors,
stacks of paper read lost
and don’t chase
like a baby on board
sticker peeling off
an empty-nester’s van.

Old brick storefront of Fishtown
Market, two cans of diet cola
slick in my palms. A napkin
to wipe the sweat. Allie behind
the counter with eyes like topsoil.
I only want to give her bills
as crisp as the folds of her

One night, I am lost
as the dogs; she winks at me.
Don’t chase, don’t chase.
It is too easy to love here —
my waist reflected
in the window, the bell

on the door, the twenty
minute walk past
the graveyard on Palmer.
Strays slink through the trash
and I reach out to them,

The cool nip of want,
takes the scruff of my neck,
the pavement too hot under
my feet — too easy to love
here. I run, curse the wet
heave of my chest.
Jo Clark is a student and writer born and raised in the Blue Ridge Mountains. She attends the University of Virginia as a member of the Area Program in Poetry Writing. She is the creative writing editor for V-Magazine at UVA, a senior writer for The Cavalier Daily, and a poetry reader for The Adroit Journal. She has work published or forthcoming in The Red Cedar Review, Prospectus: A Literary Offering, The Stardust Review, and Flux: Literary Magazine.


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