Poor Claudia published poetry, prose and conversations online and in print from 2009 to 2018.

Claire Donato

Three Poems

  • Dead Meat
  • Homecoming
  • Live Pluck

Dead Meat

How to write transparently about mistreatment sans divulging
How to write the body’s situation without causing lacerations

As I sit here and cry
From the friction

Of hides, or the muscular
Results of a Google search

Depicting the most abhorrent image
Of evil they do to themselves

O, they do evil to themselves

Moved into a $1500 dollar flat in Windsor Terrace
Landlord’s interrogation: Why don’t you eat eggs?

As if the offspring of a chicken is a living being
Whose own being has, more or less, just been born

But is immediately put to work, as three men
Who graduated from the Ivy League

Work to make visible the distance
I create in language by

Uploading photos of my body
From behind the frosted glass

That separates outside from in
Before the actual killing begins


It seems that I’ve become a horse
Says the boy with his hands on my spine
Into a community of parts
I cannot write
Without feeling kindred

How did our clothing tear
The path was sure, well-worn and mapped
We walked this way
I gripped his neck
Said, I love the culture but I want to break it

Am I allowed to say these things
About my self-respecting friend?
For seven days, I couldn’t write
To this day, I cannot write
Have you seen the bloodstain

On the wall, covered with black ink?

Live Pluck

Sitting on a goose’s neck to prevent her from
Delivering the message once her feathers are ripped out

Kindred political animal left with gaping wounds
Dumped into the scalding water of the defeathering tank

They flick on the lights and return to the party

This is not an unpatrolled white space

Claire Donato

Claire Donato is the author of Burial (Tarpaulin Sky Press, 2013) and The Second Body (Poor Claudia, Spring 2016). Recent writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Fanzine, Encyclopedia L-Z, Ninth Letter, PEN America, and PLINTH. With Jeff T. Johnson, she has collaborated on Special America, a site-specific multimedia intervention. She lives in Brooklyn, NY and is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Architecture Writing and BFA Writing programs at Pratt Institute. Her website is somanytumbleweeds.com.