A Concise History of Michigan Cartology

posted Nov 15, 2011

When someone asks where we live, we
without pause, hold up our right hand

mitten-style, so that the asker can survey
as we press finger to flesh.

Right here, we say. I grew up right here.
We carry history on our hands.

Cartographic handlers of hope
and place, our maps swing at our sides

slipped into pockets, folded, laced or
curled until someone asks for directions,

inquires as to where we are going or
where we have been and then

we unfurl this map passed down
from one generation to the next,

trace a course traveled, hoped for;
linger in this geography of skin that

tells us no matter where the
journey, we are always here.

Jennifer Clark has recent or forthcoming work in such journals as Raven Chronicles, Astropoetica, Driftwood, Defenestration, Rose & Thorn Journal, Paper Crow, Centrifugal Eye, Spittoon, Main Street Rag, and several others. Her first book of poems, Necessary Clearings, will be published by Shabda Press in 2014. She lives in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Clark’s poem “Gay in the Age of Copper” also appears in this issue.