“All My Stresses Live in Texas” by Clemonce Heard

Clemonce Heard


Now I’ve seen everything:
Ivy sagged like an IV neck-
lacing the windows of the burning
house; snow killing my neighbor’s
cacti in their terracotta pots
dwarfing the one my friend sent
a picture of, lampshading a pillar
candle cordoned off by a coup-
le of cinder blocks that would help
heat his house in a blackout
if it was 10,000 sq. ft. smaller. Trans-

former state senator feels no way
about the system he helped deregu-
late over two decades ago.
Says he’s only lost power tw-
ice since then, & notes how,
hunched over, he makes coffee
in his fireplace. I counted two rats

sniffing around my cracked porch,
curled inside my idling sedan.
I spoke to Wisconsin, who s-
aid she smelled gas the same time
I smelled burning wires & thought
it was my battery I hadn’t replaced
before I’d left the Midwest.
How I’d wished it wasn’t the alt-
ernator as it was in the negatives
that day, & I’d have to take so much
out to get to the problem.

from Poets Respond
February 21, 2021


Clemonce Heard: “This poem responds to the Lone Star State’s decades of insufficient power reforms. I recently moved into an uninsulated house in San Antonio. My neighborhood was one that lost power, so I decided to sleep in my car. The next thing I knew, the power had returned, and the back of my neighbor’s duplex was on fire. I thought just how insular a Troy Fraser or a Cancun Ted Cruz has to be to believe preparation is not essential because they possess the resources to cushion the failure. ” (web)

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