When He Moves to My Neighborhood & His Girlfriend Writes That My Poetry Has No Literary Merit & It’s Just Meant to Make Him Feel Bad by Clair Dunlap


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When He Moves to My Neighborhood & His Girlfriend Writes That My Poetry Has No Literary Merit & It’s Just Meant to Make Him Feel Bad

what must it be like to stand in the market
gently squeezing peaches in july and see,
out of the corner of your eye, a stranger walk in

and something about their height and the shape of their glasses
and the cadence of their walk is familiar

and not want to run?

what must the body feel like if not taken over
with shaking, fruit falling from sweaty palms as if
from some failed tree? if not hot panic when you realize
the only way out is how they just came in.

what must the body feel like if not
so small?

how is it, in the moment of could be, to feel nothing at all?
is that difficult for you?
to think you see me and to keep breathing?




Clair Dunlap

Clair Dunlap grew up just outside Seattle, Washington, and started writing at the age of six. Now she resides in the Midwest where she is a preschool teacher and MLIS candidate. She is the author of IN THE PLUM DARK BELLY (Beard Poetry 2016) and her word can be found in Sweet Tree Review, Souvenir, The Harpoon Review, The Fem, and more. She is a social media editor for Vagabond City and on several platforms you can find her @smallgourd.