Published on Academy of American Poets (

Brief Interval

I knew what I was about
stroking your lovely
neck in the perilously
interval at the intersection of
desire, the real, and feminist

And if the intersection is three
or four points of variance,
divergence, diversion,
aversion, and hapless brief
larger than the grid,
in dread of a walled corner,
a piano stool, a
contraband .38,
and that flip of an
eye eros,
oh, throat

I don’t do well with
expectation. Come up
here if it’s too cool a
story below with your
windows cracked.
Higher is warmer
in this last,


Copyright © 2019 by Cheryl Clarke. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on June 13, 2019, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“I wrote this poem two years ago. It gently ridicules the speaker when she touches the beautiful neck of a friend. The words began to associate themselves and to create this rhythmic elegy, driven by several stark images—in the moment, the brief interval.”
—Cheryl Clarke


Cheryl Clarke

Cheryl Clarke was born in 1947 in Washington, DC.

Date Published: 2019-06-13

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