Day of Needs
To hear Jennifer Clarvoe read "Day of Needs," click
I need a form—vertical? horizontal?
(from the side, or full-frontal?)
suicidal, or just mental?
or (I'm thinking toothache) dental?
I need a form—elaborate? simple?
(neither gap-toothed grin, nor dimple)
spare or (spare me) ample?
would you like a free sample?
I need a form—try Chinese menu?
(intimate or public venue?)
loony bin, I've already been—you
think I'm trying to lose or win you?
I need a form—for neither/either
both/and friendly/heavy breather
down to earth and lost in ether
I need a form—for what I need
some alphabet to write & read
(first see-saw, then gone to seed)
I need a form—for I don't know
any more than the next guy oh
next best, next to nothing, no
news is good, or make it so
I need a form like a hole in my head
my heart, my sole, my empty bed
the books that I've already read
& day-old bread
Whatever form of need you take
(or knead & bake)
can't have your cake
& eat it. Ache.
Jennifer Clarvoe's first book, Invisible Tender, won the 2001 Kate Tufts Discovery Award. She teaches at Kenyon College.
Clickhere to visit Robert Pinsky's Favorite Poem Project site.To submit poetry to Slate, send up to five poems and a self-addressed, stamped envelope to: Robert Pinsky, Slate Magazine, Boston University, 236 Bay State Road, Boston, MA, 02215.