Renovations to the Memory Palace

by George David Clark

That dirt stain on the shag
is gone and all

the photographs of me.
My cold indention

in our mattress heals
tonight, and when

the chandelier’s
extinguished now no wall

will be polluted
by the awkward sprawl

of my unbalanced shadow.
Only then,

when one poor fingerprint
is all that pins

my history to the light
switch in the hall,

can I breathe freely
as I wipe that last

loose blemish clean.
The rooms will exhale too,

but briefly, since my leaving
means a new

piano, marble counters,
and a vast

confab of furniture
without a past

whose future’s only
sutured now to you.

GEORGE DAVID CLARK’s Reveille received the 2015 Miller Williams Prize from the University of Arkansas Press and his recent poems can be found in AGNI, The Georgia Review, The Gettysburg Review, Ecotone, Poetry Northwest, The Southern Review, and elsewhere. The editor of 32 Poems, he teaches creative writing at Washington & Jefferson College and lives in western Pennsylvania with his wife and their four young children. You can find him online at