Lindsay Illich


Lindsay Illich

    for T.H.M.
The birds have woken me before dawn,
in the left margin of June without you:

some loves are textual, coming paratactically,
Alexandrine, getting smoked like a Cuban.

And you, caesuredly.

So the morning is about to do her rise
thing, the lupines, the vireos, and I’m back

in the rivers we waded in, floated down,
discussed abstractly and mythologically

(Lovett, Char, Lethe, Charon), their uterine
beds, our brokenness, your dop kit

and mesquite (neither keeps you).
Nothing has kept you on the globe

where I learned the word gypsum
yesterday. How fucking boring is the

heaven-is-a-mansion thing, esp. since
how much better would a river be

where you and me are alive
and always alive with moving.

So the birdsong—the dawn chorus—
man they sure do remind me of you,

the white-throated sparrow oppositing
death, esp. Brother, fisher, owl of awake

and sleep, some nights we got so drunk
I was afraid you would go home,

put a frozen pizza in the oven
and pass out, the house burning down

around you. And this morning’s sobriety
means no you. You would have hated it.

But the summer, the short north of it,
the bird derries, the beautiful derrieres

on the ferry (otherwise a bag of marsh-
mallows), classic blues, the scissor-tail

and colic roar of a river—
even though it’s just the highway noise—

just like when we lived together: shearing,
in love with a draft of forever, your bed

one room over, your love the adjacent
possible, a door (I get it now) opening

on a river titled Help, where no waters
overwhelm, where the soul sits, discursive,

no burning second story to pull you from,
all the dry bones crumbled like windowsill bees

reanimate, breathed into, singing back
to life the morning, calling the sun

back up, a poesis coming true, word by
word, the dark clouds lightening, lifting

droozy dawn from horizon, ceasuredly.

15 Seconds (My Vagina Is Opening Like a Flower)

How long a moon long, the dodge of out,
this pushing from the oh-fix-me living right.

O Lord. A year. A paraphrase, O delish.
O sentimental argument, Lord.

The long moon, the grass growing,
tip and strive. We find love

when we’re cowards, dots
on one end of a text message,

typing, bores of syntax.
Dear Lord, your liminality

is dotted, elliptical like the sense
of now (dot dot dot), 15 seconds long

long moon (pls Lord help me).

Sea Turtle

    for Wilma
For the way the halls and viewing bays
stay dark while the great tank glows like a soul

lustrated in blue light, I applaud the aquarium
architect. From left to right the silent ones swim

in and out of sight. They move like thoughts,
like memory, or like a Wes Anderson diorama

of earthly delights: lionfish, an albacore,
the lone stingray—and then like a wound,

a sea turtle at eye level. I recognize in hers
your thin-lipped disdain for being analyzed,

your inexorable wariness of just being.
The truth is you show up like this everywhere:

on the trail, in New Yorker cartoons, in my own
dark carapace where I keep all lost loves

(think of all those things you saved).
I am full of you. In and out of view,

swimming, still swimming, through pages
of blue, one after another, whole

fascicles of being bound up and buoyed,
I’m touching the plate glass, leaning

into it, in a way wanting more
but finally losing sight of you, and

having seen enough for one day
pushing off the glass like the edge

of a pool, just hard enough to keep going,
and finally (I am sorry) walking away.

LINDSAY ILLICH is an Associate Professor of English at Curry College in Milton, MA. Her work has recently appeared in Adirondack Review, Arcadia, North American Review, and Salamander.