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Shadow Boxes


Day’s           whole transparency

a relief                the fine turning

moon’s tug   through the morning


Underleaf sparkless black

ants     the rock breaks     poor

Sisyphus          gallant Janus


A leaf pile        my mind’s

eye         afraid the real’s up

for grabs            hype


Out      of possible         should

merge               the tortoiseshell

spots              forest leaf-shrivel


Life’s almost       passable

magna       a strange body

laying        the shadow of


Stars disperse             homo-

geneous      “lumpy”    dark

trigger-happy         artisans


There, immediate        you have

the genie’s          kind of crazy

it’s dead        say        convince


Any love           roundabout

in our world          mountain

mist               fog this is not


Flyspeck        a breath’s

reclamation        a funny

unprincipled        finesse


Soul does develop         the

perfect bias          downright

weird        it’s demagnetized


Ne-er-do-well    Chronos

Lord of Death    an epic

hoodwink      the soul is


Soul’s pizzazz      the mind’s

eye-dancing        malingerer

backstage        sights the acts


Wormholes       stars the gilt

rubs off                      under

our veil         the split world


Behind the veil          life

works         dirt, dust, gravel       a

white-striped        longtail


No more!         the eyes

dying down       bird horde        an offer

buried          a horizon


Imagination          truth

the afterward         no longer

passably             human


Bag of spells        this dream

towards which     a magician

fiddles       rapport     of wits


Scraps of rock        troubled

where I’m from     ditch dug

to live                the beyond


To rush out       perishable

body         the seer himself

freedom conjures    the now


Let-down’s       tremulous

hyperbole     shattered rest

love       masks a jealousy


So much        laying the

shadow of        passably

human         waking up


One of the hearts           where

I come from              webbed

feet         darkness untrodden


“Peopling”         the dream

towards which        the line

disfigured            the abyss


The dream on each         one

of us         stop        operation

field         the source thought


Mystery      signs    heaven-

ward       slippage      burnt

essences             the whites

Rebecca Lilly holds degrees from Cornell (MFA, Poetry) and Princeton (PhD, Philosophy) universities. Her collection of prose poems, Creatures Among Us, was published by Broadstone Books in August 2019.