At a Gas Station in Vermont With My Best Friend P

Meriwether Clarke

We go to buy juice-box wine and
Cheetos made of fire. Their
dust is glitter-light against our
skin. I love

how we laugh down the aisles, wear
beautiful shoes.
Our calves deserve to be kissed
by gorgeous men, but instead

we have fluorescent lights
and each other. Outside
are too many trees to count and a river
we stand in. Shadows of

the question, what to do next,
shimmer on the surface until
we break them with
curved and tender feet.

This is the first time
I’ve ever felt young,
standing inside
a small sea, with someone

who believes me when
I call it a small sea. What I mean,
they know: something to love we
won’t try to hold.

Meriwether Clarke is a poet, essayist, and educator living in Los Angeles. She is the author of the chapbook twenty-first century woman (Dancing Girl Press 2019). Recent work can be seen in Prairie Schooner, Gigantic Sequins, The Michigan Quarterly Review (online), The Journal, and elsewhere.