Rigorous
Volume Three, Issue 3



Echo Clark


All along this zigging-zagging path

After Fatima Asghar & Jamila Woods

I am searching for breadcrumbs
Home, left behind by familiar strangers
And I find them
In the limp hand of Miss Olga
At the Haitian restaurant,
Asking if I really want my curry goat
That spicy, sweetie?

And I find them in the archives and I find them
In the algorithms late at night,
Watching Grace Jones become human
when she touches ground in Jamaica
And the estranged uncle says,
you don't remember me, huh?
you were small, small, small
when you last left


And I find them buried deep,
Lodged in sedimentary rock
See, my people are an island, a volcano,
their blood boiling hot,
their spirit seeping out, like magma
Soaked with sweat and snot

And I find them in the Nigerian mother
And the hair braider down the block & them,
On MLK Boulevard yearning to be free again

And I find them in the desert, find them in the sea

And I find them flying through the open
sky and hanging
from the trees

All along this zigging-zagging path
They keep imploring me
to limbo lower round the clock
When I doubt my will to walk

So I crawl, tired, on my knees,
Sifting dirt and moss for kin
Careful not to split this skin
on arrowheads and glass

And I start to find these crumbs,
Even when I did not ask,
Even without intent, realizing
simply being was the mission I was sent

And when no morsel is left
I will take a moment's rest,
Stretching arms out wide and easy,
Extending east to west
Before treading down a new path,
Leaving breadcrumbs for the next




Interior Poem

While bathing the morning's dishes in soapy water
And my own back in the glow of the rising sun

(It isn't the sound of balloons popping after the party or

a metal crane dropping its load as I bounce
my way around a sunny day downtown)

While bathing the morning's dishes in soapy water, with my back to the window

(Even though that wasn't how it happened
the first time and besides, nobody died)

In the morning in my kitchen,
bullets slice through the glass of my window

(One after the other, I couldn't count
I was too busy crawling)


Echo Clark: "I am a writer and multi-media artist based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, by way of Las Vegas, Nevada, by way of Barbados, by way of the West African Diaspora. My work has been featured in Skip Fiction and Hooligan Magazine and won an honorable mention in the Grand Rapids 2019 Dyer-Ives Poetry Competition. When I'm not reading or writing, you can find me on Instagram @yeswincan."




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