Clark A. Pomerleau


Listen to the audio version.

Father son stony blocks
veins of anxiety under the surface
as I drive to minor emergency.
The deadweight arm revives
in the waiting room.
A mini-stroke's effects gone
without reason.
Mom asks Dad how it's going
he slides off his chair.
Stop it!
The straight man isn't miming.
Doctors found the hole in his heart
into which we plunge
fearing where it leads.

* * *


Listen to the audio version.

Growing up, we three had so much to say.
Everyday news; novel ideas; classic ruminations.
Repetition was an imposition on scarce time.
Exasperated, you'd complain,
You already told me that.
I've heard that story before.

A lifetime of dinner conversations,
an adulthood of weekly phone calls.
…of not sharing the phone, so you wouldn't get stuck
on repeat.

I hear your tone in my impatience.
I want to go faster, cover more ground, exchange big thoughts.
I'll settle for practical advice.
Someday I'll yearn for pieces.
Meanwhile, despite whatever grumbling,
you stored away those stories to gnaw on
as you watch your love disappear.

* * *


Listen to the audio version.

A sensory fog of faded memories
punchy wisps that elude organizing.
The soup of stories Mom served
molded a toddler mind.

Surprising how much past we borrow.
Dad's mental records still help me fact-check myself
while my aunt has archived tales of his forgotten youth.
It has been this way for generations.

Pooling recollections like scarce provisions.
Dad knows names and histories of Mom's friends
whom he never met.
His mind holds the library of her life.

More and more she needs him to fill in the blanks.
They have intertwined their stories so long
he can find her words, finish her thoughts, and remember
for her.


Clark A. Pomerleau is a writer and teacher from Washington State. Memory and place feature prominently in his work. While his academic writing appears in feminist and historical journals or collections, these are his first published poems.