The Spell to Remove His Spell








When he reads a letter late at night with his skin
full of cider he’ll look at you like you’re a
criminal. You are not a criminal. You gave him
the letter and you will not marry him. He calls it
all shit without meaning, your letters, your art.
Enter the lake and fill your nose and mouth with
water, or talk him into fucking you by tracing
lines from his neck to his knees. Don’t stop
when he pretends to sleep. If he still says no do
not blame age even if he denies everything else.
Days later, you write to me, terrified he will
enter the kitchen and catch you. Love, writing is
how we set the curtains on fire. Watch him
struggle to beat down the rising flames, horses’
hooves kicking out of the carpet. When he calls
for help, do not help no matter how he looks,
how dark his hair, no matter how much he
smells like the sea. Instead focus on the blaze,
the flavor of strawberries that lured you back to
his home, the skipper kissing you on the ear
when you only wanted to sail. How you almost
stayed on the boat despite this. Did you write
that down or did I make it up, and the letters he
wrote to you after? He’ll be the hatchet your
mother will use to carve out a description of
danger, one more cloud you claim by naming
and then forget. This could be the last night you
ask shyly for permission to write.








Photo by Blake Burkhart on Flickr


About Author

Ben Clark grew up in rural Nebraska and now lives in Chicago, Illinois. He has worked as an English teacher, librarian, tile maker, track coach, and in a microwaveable popcorn factory. Recently he graduated with an MFAW from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and acts an assistant editor for Muzzle Magazine. His first full-length collection of poetry, Reasons To Leave The Slaughter (Write Bloody 2011), won the 2010 Write Bloody Book Contest. This poem is from Kate Jury Denton Texas, a book written collaboratively with Colin Winnette. You can find out more at

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