Sheboygan, Wisconsin November, 2017

There is a postmark on your face
blocking your view of beyond.
Leaves fall arraying the ground in an autumnal palette.
You cannot read the lines of the road
in darkness or light, because of reflective barrels
leading away from potential disaster.

We speak in hushed tones of our inner thoughts and desires,
you may listen, but as cicadas call above
you only hear the buzzing.

A heron flies out over the water,
Lake Michigan stretching out like the ocean,
waves splashing toes. Sand in shoes, white.
Lackluster smiles photographed,
and harsh laughter sounding down hallways
calling to your room.

Placid, opaque clouds
rain down on the comfort of shrubberies
surrounding a place of finalities.


Manitowoc, Wisconsin May, 2019

We sit two & two,
Arcade Fire blaring throughout,
a soundtrack of ironic tact.

The sunglass haze red/purple of the midwestern sky,
a spring greenness indescribable.
Houses box monuments;
bricks climbing unevenly up, pickets fence
the mounds of yards, one after another
with the same inert patterns.

You always spoke of the weather, if it were good or bad,
a mimicry of feelings set deep in the ground, slowly taking root—
unfolding in flowers, bleeding hearts.


Image by Ralph George from Pixabay

Claire-Elise Baalke

Claire-Elise Baalke recently received a MA in English Literature at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. She mainly focuses on Medieval literature, but tends to write fiction and occasionally poetry. She has an upcoming publication of poems in the Flying Ketchup Press’ collection titled, “Night Forest.”