Shenandoah Volume 68, Number 1
Volume 68, Number 1 · Fall 2018

I Would That I Were

dead. I would be perfect for the temporary position. There would be no forms to fill out. My presence would be my signature. Things here in this world are so different. United Parcel Service’s packages are color coded. McDonald’s buttons are not buttons. The temp agency’s tablets are tablets. I have wept in their parking lots until the tar got into my eyes. I have sat on committees for free. I have visited classes for free. I have been filmed and photographed for free. It costs so much to smile. I would that I were a candle wick in folklore. I would that I were a penny stretched over a railroad track. I would that I were a dragonfly curled up between your finger and thumb.


John Lee Clark is the author of the essay collection Where I Stand (Handtype Press, 2014). His poems have recently appeared in or are forthcoming in American Poetry Review, the Nation, Poetry, Poetry International, and Rattle. He lives in Hopkins, Minnesota, with the artist and author Adrean Clark and their three sons.

Read John Lee Clark's “Oralism”