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Falls and Deadlocks
Fall Level

If seeing that all events just happen is
the letting go, so thought dissolves, then what?
Without an opposite, night falls into day
(or vice versa) which becomes the middle,
the still potential pitfall

The visual norm of orthodoxy
isn’t present when alone; I live off
the fall level, testing the hole
in every moment--no alchemical work
unites the voices, no paradigm
turns pathogenic memes into mantras

insensitive at first to subtle effort,
the head’s an instrument of impulse,
a necessary surgical theater
(if only night and day, consonants and vowels
rearranged, decoded and lay out in single letters,
powerless as sparks in an expanse)

least evident that level of intelligence
drawing curtains on the wizard’s legerdemain,
the solipsist infecting the world,
robotic distrust in the body, its home country

in its graceful fall through late sky
a bird arcs the still, the regression
of an I watching an I collapsing to bare will;
wind rustles, birds rest on a dead branch,
the spying psyche chatters to itself,
tunnel-visioning through the ground

I forego the proof of myself
at that distance from language,
my body’s truth becomes my other self,
an eye intuitive, solidly built as a treetrunk,
who I am never took the first move


Faces on Glass

Alone night gathers up the pieces as its blankness
unfolds the black-greys of psychoalchemy
the credence in the well

first, time reflects millennia: life sculpts matter
(an hourglass neck angling from the head,
its deep belief in itself is the sadness)
peripherally the cones catch its natural descent

lamps are the moon’s dark half rivers of sand
course down, vertigo reconfiguring our contacts
the foam of faces on glass curves
(night, an ellipsis, not a full stop yet)

the dark translucence pulls the solitary
toward the bulb affixed in the head
(bell without a clapper, the sound of a hand
clapping its frenzy as it lights the wick)

the burnt-out bulb repurposed for moonlight,
a lantern in the cell, our plot to fall out
of mirage over words the eyes closed the end of effort


Big Sky

Fossilized by an inner stare
at an eroded mountain, the hollows
in cloudy blue rounds, I can’t speak
for the lump in my throat (self-doubt,
a bud vase’s short lyrics of flowers
cut from a field of similes
of fourth dimensional molts)

viceroys feast on nectar in the wildflower fields,
the deadness in my mind considers itself alone
despite the skies clearing, a big blackness blows
wings zooming back and forth, distortions
unless dreaming would be migrational

a floating world strung from amnesia’s fall,
a bubble hoisting itself up by hangman’s ropes,
but tied to a tree still smoking;
the solitary deadlock an afterburn

were existence self-evident, sky should be diaphanous,
without tapestries, crosshatchings of cirrus
(spotted tortoiseshells, a white-striped longtail,
ecstatic eyes on the wingspots)

Alone not simply at death, it bears remembering
when our histories collapse, if presence rushed
backward into absence, tempting darker clouds
into the sky’s further extensions,
at least it can’t harbor reflections

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.