PoetryIssue 13 | September 2011

Suppose You Were a Clone

by Rachel Bunting

of yourself. Not a robot, nothing metal: just a simple skin-
and-bones kind of clone. A miracle of science. The office

is a tired place, gunmetal grey walls boxing in forty pairs
of sad eyes. It’s said a well-trained dog could do this job,

nosing papers around the desk and ignoring the phone.
So you sit down, begin working. Meanwhile the Other

You, the Real You, tries to catch the drips of ice cream
running down Your real hand. It’s a messy endeavor.

But then you start to think, and it’s something of a crisis.
Aren’t you just as real? Just as deserving? Without you

what could You do? Without you, You would be here
imagining the warm sunshine instead of bathing in it.

So you decide to take a walk at lunch and instead of going
back after thirty minutes you just keep walking, your feet

not tired even though Your feet would be. As you’re walking
you pass Yourself in the park playing with a stranger’s dog

and you toss your ringing cell phone at Yourself, which
attracts the dog’s attention, this sleek shiny toy flying

through the air, and before You can stop him, the dog
swallows your phone. The woman who owns the dog

begins screaming at You in the park and it lasts a good
twenty minutes. But you keep walking, straight through

to Your favorite sushi place where you gorge at the lunch
buffet and leave a bad check on the table, knowing You will

never be able to go back. The day is waning now but you
are not tired so you walk for sixteen days until you reach

Miami, so many miles it seems unbelievable but this is
the wonderful thing about being the only clone: you

have assumed only the best of the qualities. Then you
remember that You have always wanted to visit Miami

so you stop in a corner store, the kind You hate, made
especially for tourists and you buy a bright floral shirt,

one of those sun hats with a flap on the back to cover
your neck, and a sunglasses-nose-flap combo. Oh, how

You will hate this! Standing on the beach, ankle deep
in water bluer than you have ever imagined, you feel

finally and perfectly at ease. The picture is a winner;
you find an internet café and shoot Yourself an email,

a quick jab in the subject line: Wish You Were Here!
After a few weeks you realize that being homeless

in a strange city in the most humid of months is not
as much fun as you thought. It occurs to you one hot

night that Your house back up north is air-conditioned
and paid off. And this is where the failure of being a clone

settles itself like a fine dust in the empty rooms of your mind:
Everything you are doing now is everything You ever wanted.

About the author

Rachel Bunting was born and raised in Southern New Jersey, but has slept next to a fountain in Bruges, on the lawn of a castle in Heidelberg, under the span of a bridge in Amsterdam, and in a very comfortable chair in Norman Mailer’s living room. Her next travel adventure will include not sleeping at Taqueria Cancun in San Francisco. Her poems can be found in Boxcar Poetry ReviewMuzzle Magazine and Weave.

Read our current issue:

Poetry

Two poems by Anne Babson
Vignette, Townhouse, 9 a.m. by Troy Cunio
Night Becomes Day Over the West by Megan Foley
Yukon River Aurora by D. B. Goman
Two Poems by David Havird
Cretan Love Letter by Emily Linstrom
Holland by Rick Mullin
Fear in Kenya by Kristina Pfleegor
The Lounge Lizard by Ed Shacklee
Two Poems by Sarah J. Sloat
Night Flight by Vicki Stannard
Koinonia Farms by Alina Stefanescu
Thessaloniki, Four a.m. by Anastasia Vassos
Imaginary Oceans by Jason Warren
Two Poems by F. J. Williams

Postcard prose

It’s Salty by Kelly Hill

Travel notes

Anchorage in the Great Land by Karen Benning
The Value of Small Money by Megan Hallinan
Screensaver by Sandra Larson
Thirty Cents by Tommy McAree
Gokarna by Kate McCahill
Going Places by Rachel Miller-Howard
Susanville CA: Notes From The Road by Susan Volchok