Jeanette Marie Clough is a native of Paterson, New Jersey. After working as a waitress, children's dance teacher, and a librarian on a ship, she went on to receive a Masters degree from the University of Chicago. She currently works for the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles. Her current collection is Island, from Red Hen Press (2007). Cantatas appeared in 2002 from Tebot Bach, and she is also author of two limited editions, Celestial Burn (Sacred Beverage Press) and a chapbook Dividing Paradise (The Inevitable Press). Among the journals publishing her poetry are Colorado Review, Denver Quarterly, Nimrod, Ohio Review, Atlanta Review, and Pool, and the 1994 and 1996 anthologies published by the Robinson Jeffers Room Poetry Series. She was a prize-winner in the competitions for the Los Angeles Poetry Festival's Fin de Millenium, Spillway's Walt Whitman Call and Response, the dA Arts Center, and the Ruskin Art Club. She edited for Solo, A Journal of Poetry and contributes reviews to Poetry International. Clough co-created the monthly Poem X series in Santa Monica and was a founding member of the Hyperpoets series.


Sky starts at ground level. Whatever level the ground is, sky starts

Sky travels. It cannot not travel.

Notice how sky works with variations of cloud;
with shades of blue and gray.

Tomorrow, sky may bring rain.

The color of sky is subjunctive.
It speaks in run-on sentences. Other times in fragments.

Some days, sky is all margin. It wraps around everything.
There is nothing it will not swaddle.

When you breathe in, sky breathes out.

Sky fills the space between. Just now, it came through a closed window.

Sometimes sky scrims the sun. Like a geisha's fan, a peacock, or a
royal flush.

A stone will store pieces of sky. Sky enters stone when it wants to
If you lose jewelry, that's sky getting free.

Sky will store pieces of stone. Stone enters sky when it wants to move
If you live on a planet, that's stone breaking free.

When sky listens, it makes the sound of a caterpillar spinning.
A caterpillar spinning makes the same sound as sky.

Dogs on the Beach

They have come to the place
of their resemblance. Leash
and memory of leash are gone
because they are precisely
where they want to be, and will go

nowhere else unless taken.
They will run as long as the tide runs,
evenly with it on the graveled beach,
then hurtle flat-eared to the grass
and return, over and over, to the foam

that fringes their contentment.
This is what they dream about
when their legs spin, or snouts
twitch and probe; what is sought
when, intent, an ear cocks

toward something I don't yet
hear. They do not need me;
I have simply brought them
so I may watch their abandon,
their ease at the shifting rim.

Leaving Palm Springs

Hot blasts lift a scarf of dust,
and fault zones shift their ribs.

The ground sighs and rolls over,
restless as a desert saint

whose ridges and misalignments
are scourged bare.

At these bends in the road the earth's spine
slings back on itself like shoelaces

then with powdery softness goes forward, twined.

Jeanette Marie Clough Moonday poetry reading

© 2007 Jeanette Marie Clough

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