A Few Keys

This is the key
to my pickup
and this is the key
to my home.
The key to my laptop
is letters and symbols;
six zeros are key
to my phone.
The deadbolt, the engine,
the network,
the hush
and the digital tone—
what this key can do
I’ve forgotten.
This key is another
key’s clone.

This key takes the form
of a feather. It swings
the green doors
in the roofs of these oaks.
This match is the key
to an altar.
It springs a black
ladder of smoke.
This key is the green
in my brown left eye,
but what’s shuttered
tonight is unclear.
This key is the pitch
and the torque
of a voice. May it fit
in a favorable ear.

These bills make a key
to the turnpike.
(The tollbooth’s
a gigolo latch.)
The vein is impressed
with a needle
and hardwood submits
to an axe.
But no one is turned
by an order.
No will
will unclench for a fact.
I’ve opened
to notes in a song
once or twice, but mostly
it’s puncture and scratch.

This last key of course
is a wristwatch.
I turn it
by sitting still,
by letting the clouds
turn around me,
by adding more drinks
to my bill.
Eventually everything
opens: the blue
fist of evening, the maw
in those rocks.
With a click
it all fastens
behind me. This last key
is also a lock.

George David Clark

George David Clark

George David Clark is an assistant professor of English and creative writing at Washington & Jefferson College. His Reveille (Arkansas, 2015) won the Miller Williams Prize and his recent poems can be found in AGNI, The Georgia Review, The Gettysburg Review, Image, The Southern Review, and elsewhere. The editor of 32 Poems, he lives in Washington, Pennsylvania.
George David Clark

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Author: George David Clark

George David Clark is an assistant professor of English and creative writing at Washington & Jefferson College. His Reveille (Arkansas, 2015) won the Miller Williams Prize and his recent poems can be found in AGNI, The Georgia Review, The Gettysburg Review, Image, The Southern Review, and elsewhere. The editor of 32 Poems, he lives in Washington, Pennsylvania.