by Madison Clark
She blames Constantine for under God in her anthem, and for the rising
eyebrows of bra-fitters when leftover bruises show. She prefers imperfect
over otherwise. Physics says it gravitates towards the center better that
way. Her friends are the ones on concrete Lego blocks, playing rock /
paper / scissors in an abandoned construction zone (why doesn’t anyone
shoot anymore?) to choose who speaks first. Better than any conch shell. No
assumptions here; no sadhus either. But in a suburb of a renovating city,
it is expected. Ahimsa at a time like this? Nah. Everyone is too busy to
clear the stoop of bugs before they sit down, or else too afraid to leave
the stoop in the first place. Terrified of Malagueta afterheat and the way
speckled stains line the Arthur Bryant laminate tabletop a millimeter shy
of a to-scale Orion’s Belt sauce splatter. You can smell barbecue from her
porch where she does zazen daily. Call her nature. She’s too poor to join
the arms race. Call her Bangladesh. Tantric can never overtake Tonka
Trucks because even if the name was taken off of every hospital, people’s
hands would still know lives end there. Just take her to Valhalla via sati.
She’ll handpick afterlives the way one Roman emperor chose this myth
over all of the others: all at once, scattering siblings along the way.
Madison Clark currently serves as a Life Together Teaching Fellow at Esperanza Academy in Lawrence, MA. Originally from suburban Missouri, she recently completed her undergraduate career in central Pennsylvania at Susquehanna University. After spending a second year with Life Together, she plans to move abroad in order to teach English and work on her own non-profit organization, followed up by a pair of graduate degrees at Queen’s University in Belfast.