the museum of americana

a literary review

In America, we love firsts—Poetry by Jennifer Clark

The first to appear,
the first to settle,
build,
marry,
dig a grave,
and be inducted.
We use precious ink
to tell the world that Saucy Nick
is the village’s first thief, having stolen
Theodore Monross’ fat steer.
What do we know
of the twelfth woman
whose lumberman husband was killed by a falling tree?
What of a fifth great-grandfather
who, during the First
Great Awakening,
built the seventh
house in Bangor?
He, along with his 29 sheep and lamb,
made it into Maine Historical Magazine.
We only know this because near Lover’s Leap,
he built the town’s first saw mill.
His third son’s first memories unfurl at dusk—
spearing salmon with his brothers beneath the thundering fall
of that first mill dam.

~~~

Jennifer Clark is the author of three poetry collections, most recently A Beginner’s Guide to Heaven (Unsolicited Press). Her book Johnny Appleseed: The Slice & Times of John Chapman (Shabda Press) contains two poems which first appeared in the museum of americana (Issue 11). Clark lives in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Her website is https://jenniferclarkkzoo.com.