He Was Always Almost Something

Sometimes he’d write words
on blackboards solely because
he liked the way chalk
dust softened his fingertips,
paled them into some color
not quite living.

Once he ate earth,
accidentally almost, it
tasted bitter rich like too
dark chocolate drenched
in coffee grounds or ash.

He never drank flames,
though he meant to, after
a childhood night at the circus
when he watched a fire-
eater delight the crowd
by never dying
a single time.

Chloe N. Clark is a creative writing major at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has had poems published in Halfway Down the Stairs, Interrobang!?, Shaking like a Mountain, Sliver of Stone, and Verse Wisconsin.