Rachel Diken: Three Poems

Rachel E. Diken is a poet and playwright whose work appears in december, Lips, Local Knowledge, and was included in a production of The American Poetry Theater, among others. She is a contributing Poetry Editor for the women’s advocacy journal Persephone’s Daughters, writes a theatre column at The Atticus Review, and also writes a daily haiku via Twitter @haikuavenue.


Clusterlove I.

Trees learn to grow holes
to make room for the wires:

our limbs learn
the same.

Nurture means different things
to different people.

We build our own
structure of discipline

around what it is
we hold sacred:

yes, brutality
cleanses something

& reveals a location
to direct the solvents.

the holes name themselves

claim independence
from whatever original wreck

we thought was necessary,

our insufficient
transmissions –

we neglected
to acknowledge the space,

silence as
the apparatus allowing

our communication
to take (its weary) place.



I see a street––
on either side, it’s lined
with clocks (which may
or may not be attached to bombs)

the faces and hands
are distinct and disagree
on the time. They’re piled in
with each other, at odds with each other

and alarmingly alarmed––
alarmingly the most obsolete
are all armed to the teeth,
set on announcing the start of day

we have already lived too long in.

Their blaring
is not the only sound––
I hear a resistance
rousing itself up, shifting

closer to nearby voices of clarity
and assembling an antithesis
that though overdue, has a practiced shout
and willful way of shaking

& which, once it fully wakes, will render
those now alarming teeth
no more than stretchmarks
on a seldom-trafficked sidewalk.


I hear no such machine

Suppose we start for the same reason
we continue––no choice, really.
What else would you have us do?
We don’t know we
ask and you hand us an armful
of beginnings we didn’t want,
we can’t see over the heap,
the so-called horizon, then dark, we,
then lost, we. Lost.
We get cold and with not voice enough
to speak, ask. You wander we wait.
Sort in waiting what heap surrounds us
then we follow your lead. Wander.
You descend us to the eventual point
where shadow hushes us, the suggestion
of your presence weights the drop
tethering our question mark,
raised eyebrows settle and still, we,
questionless, we, reasonless, we. See.


(Author photo by James Worrell)

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