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  • Erin Clark

An undertow

Erin Clark

Until you’ve watched waves wreak

their wondrous magic; until the water,

salt and sweet, in all your veins and ventricles

retreats a little from the sight of a

towering wall of water, for you know

what it is like to writhe beneath it,

swept without mercy further below,

spinning and deep; until you’ve stood apart

yet wholly unable to wrench your stare

from the approaching amplitude of ocean;

until you’ve seen what was your past,

your near-death, in monstrous form once more

and done nothing – because you are not Neptune,

and cannot control the tantrums of the sea –

until then, Mortal. Memento fucking mori.


Erin Clark (she/her) is an American writer and priest living in London. Her poetry, fiction and essays have appeared in the New Critique, Oxonian Review, Geez, Mash, The Hour, The Primer, Free Verse Revolution, and elsewhere. Her chapbook Whom Sea Left Behind will be published in 2023 by Alien Buddha Press. She is the author of the nonfiction Sacred Pavement (2021, That Guy's House). She can be found online at or on Twitter @e_m_clark.


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