Back to Issue Forty-Two

Mount Rushmore


In the nineties. Drenched in kid-stink. Running
around with Matthew. Little cousin. Two church boys
thundering against the concrete with Grandma & Auntie.
After Pastor said, be blessed. After Grandma & Auntie’s Sunday-hats
floated in a great flood of compliments. Little sequins. Little flowers.
Little statement pieces making crowns wish for better gold.
Little cousin and me with bright futures. When we grow up
maybe we’ll be the faces on the coins jangling in our pockets.
Maybe we’ll be statues of men with ruthless histories.
Washington. Jefferson. Roosevelt. Matthew. Dante.
On Rushmore. Black Hills. South Dakota. Sioux territory,
defiled. Back in the Bronx, we snagged fireflies after church.
Marveling at their bulbs. Crushing their bodies just enough
to retain that bright flickering. We laughed like gods
with cruel punchlines. When I grow up, I won’t be proud
of the light we made on Lenape land. Pastor said, we serve a vengeful God,
when God was my hero. Savior. Tyrant. What’s the difference
when the trigger clicks for either hand? When I grow up, I’ll vote
for the first Black president. Grandma will say I look like him.
I’ll show off his deadly smile.


Dante Clark is a writer from the Bronx, NY where he’s usually waxing poetic about grief, fart jokes and wine. A two-time Pushcart nominee, his work has been featured in wildness, Brooklyn Poets’ Poet of the Week, Hooligan Mag, and elsewhere. Clark graduated from Hunter College with a BA in creative writing and he has the student loan debt to prove it. He’s performed his poetry at venues like the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, the Bowery Poetry Club, and the Montauk Club. Clark also received support from organizations including Catapult, Cave Canem, and In Surreal Life where he served as a co-fellow for the 2021 sessions. Ultimately, Dante just wants to create in a world where all his homies can prosper.

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