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Lily Duffy

From Nearer to Law

I wanted drugs and chose language—cannot get much

Nearer to law. Dreamt A, Dreamt B, climbed the fence

Fraying east where air is personal, an urge to imitate

A closing sound.

The problem with travel is

The body, which fact-checks all encounters then wrings itself

From record.


As a border between yourself and others


Ketchup dumped on a pile of saltines

In the grill at the park

Like a response to a question.       Even the crows keep their distance.

Common to conflate the body traveling at high speeds with love. It happens

At the gym, the pumpkin patch—no one can kneel

Without fatigue landing          feathery across the shoulders. Their cars

Shivering in lots.

On the floor in a circle, TV clicked off: back then, if you had something to say, you wrote it

On a slip and dropped it through the slot into a box that got

Thrown away once it was full. You felt lighter—more air—more mobile. You joined a team,

Threw seeds for the birds and balls for the dogs and children. Everyone took

Care of each other. Even if we were dead, we all had five dollars.


And if you weren't dead, you were working

                                          Thirty years later

                                          In another world

"My spirit slumped on horseback rides cleanly through mesh"


Walking down the street at midnight, dipping chicken in sauce, I was willed awake.

The grate below me: hot and open, old and pure.

Sleep was wet. Perpetually. Dim and mossy and moving. On the bed sheets, stains running out of

small, popped shells.

Dangerous to grow tired where one isn't wanted. Rinsed. Pack of tablets fizzing on the table.

I saw what I thought was my jacket hung off a telephone pole and almost fainted.

Would venture to say the back of the head, in holding visual properties of the understanding of
"one's whole life," has equaled my orphan portrait

A source toward meals charged in blankets, warehouse bottomless at the base of a hill

In oval frame


I wanted

To shop. Felt sporty as I stabbed my fork.

       The pie contained just five ingredients: sugar, flour, water, eggs and dates—six if you count

                                                         whipped topping. When it finished, I craved lemon rinds.

            When I dress myself, I provide ledges

                        and landings, an explanation for my face.                 From it.

I was fabulous high on a hill, presiding like a palm over

            My pending transactions. Charred, large eggs trembling west

                                                                                                Caught           on the lip of display

Lily Duffy's poems have previously appeared in Bone Bouquet, Yalobusha Review, Horse Less Review, Dusie, smoking glue gun and TENDE RLOIN, among other journals. Originally from Maryland, she now lives in Colorado, where she works in marketing and public relations. With Rachel Levy, she co-edits DREGINALD.