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Lucy Walker


I don’t know what sort of beauty

to value anymore.

Three sparrows on the lilac branches

outside my window hop and spark

the morning with their hidden

red wings. Do you care?

How heavy the gnarled cluster

of bright life-gleam.

Listen, certain things are like roses

and other things aren’t.

I’m tired and so things settle into

their own shapes.

My hours cloud together

and everyone I love gets sicker.


Taking time off for the long weekend.

We gather on a sloped porch right by the bird tree.

All the little boys in the neighborhood

lie back on dry grass

clutching their imaginary wounds.

Beer with Aperol.

Cloud of smoke blowing away.

Her hand raises

in a lazy gesture

and so does mine.

She smiles

and my mouth does the same.

She looks like I did

in an old mirror one time

in an old city.

Someone says something

about riding in a shopping cart

down a neighborhood hill.

Someone says something

about spelunking.

The more I drink

the more I consider altitude

and descent.

Look up at the top

of the cragged dusty cliff

and see the you that I am.

All shining and backlit.

There’s not much I can handle hearing.

The softer the music,

the more I want to be swallowed.

Be a peach,

not a woman who keeps doubling.

I’m sorry I need to feel everything is ok

all the time.

If you could,

place your thumb on my wrist

so we can feel our pulse beating.

Late August With a Bad Man in an Empty Town

Algae scum on the water.

Fish rotting the rocky shore.

Collapsed lungs of flowers

at the end of their small quiver.

I have begun to collect

small pieces. Eggshells

and glass from a burst bulb.

He is leaving the next morning,

pulling the red moon with him.

Making small tides in each mudpuddle.

These days, I only miss the tasks he gave me,

like watching for danger flickering across his eyes.

A small cloud gathering and snapping with electricity.

Over the fence, cows drift through the dust.

Their wisps of brown tail

and the strawgrass

bring death to the air.

Even as the manure, sweet

and full of life, claws across the roadway,

let me be sugar welling in the tree.

I’ve Heard That Change Is a Good Thing

Late into winter,

an older man blocks my path in the dairy aisle.

His shoes are boxy and black. Cold

blasting the small hairs on my neck.

I am grieving every day

in little increments.

The frozen cubed potatoes.

The collected frost along the shelf. His hands

are textured like a cow’s tongue.

Once I said I didn’t love you

and of course, I did.

Once I decided to no longer

decide. I would be a cornstalk, a snowdrift.

I would be a mirror

left hanging in an empty room.


there is no story here

only the soft hum from the water heater

and the low hanging black wires

leading to the socket

that although previously cobwebbed

had been found by more than one squirrel’s tooth

and so frayed

and so on this day sparked

because electricity somehow makes its way

through these human designs

and at some point in time

a person sat at a table or a desk or maybe

sprawled in the middle of their living room on a braided rug

and drafted long blue pencil strokes

and understood conductivity

and the thingness of energy enough

to design this hot water heater but unfortunately

this person was still a human who

maybe ate a sandwich from wax paper on a stoop

when it’s slightly too windy for stoop sandwich eating

and lost half of it to the sidewalk

and his cheeks grew hot from the shame

of being a grown man fumbling food in public

but the point is this man is just a man

and so the wires were not squirrel proof

and so they frayed and so they sparked

on this particular day when this particular person

this mother had emptied out the lint trap of her washing machine

located right next to the water heater

and flung it on the ground because

sometimes mothers just throw things on the ground

because like the man who designed her water heater

she is also just a man

and as everyone in the house was sleeping

as this mother’s family was sleeping this spark happened

and this spark found purchase in the coiled purple lint


Lucy Walker is a New England poet. She received her MFA from Sarah Lawrence College and has been recently published in [PANK] and Bodega Magazine.


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