"in this dream i scream this is not a dream" by Ariel Clark-Semyck

Updated: Oct 24, 2021


& sweat bullets in front of the dice, snake eyes with every roll. the dealer looks on with feigned sympathy & calls me baby-cakes to encourage my stamina. i haven’t dreamed of it yet, but i suspect the dealer’s clever tongue could knot a cherry stem with its forked end. i can’t afford to have my shortfalls exposed in front of beautiful people anymore. i settle further into the bar stool, into the crushed green velvet under my elbows, into the rattle of the ball within the roulette wheel. if i stare at the spin just right, i am taken to that gaudy old gazebo resting on a neatly mowed acre. if i find the gazebo, i’ll find the young lovers there, the secret of elopement sweet on their breath. one of them has riches & one of them doesn’t & it is this disparity that makes the grip of their passion so strong. one of them has sense & one of them doesn’t & it is this disparity that makes an ending so steep, i can’t look down. i keep kicking rocks over the ending & waiting for the sound of solid ground. i’m hedging a bet that someone beautiful is down there with hands full of stones.


Ariel Clark-Semyck is a poet from Chicago. Her poems have been published in Flypaper Lit, Heavy Feather Review, Grimoire Magazine, Witch Craft Magazine, Yes Poetry, and elsewhere. You can find her scuttling around on Instagram and Twitter: @mousecadet.

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