Lillo Way

Marquez Night                                                                                           

 Stained tea towel, charcoal bleeding into mustard,

an umber edge holding the grime design together,

hung askew over the oven door handle

in a garbage-rank closet of a flat

in the poorest street of an old town – that’s what is

the yellowish thing that calls itself a summer sky

hanging a few meters above my head

and low pressuring me to fall into love

in the time of cholera where I become

the sinking stinking still air, where I am

the last bird not to die in the fetid drying river,

where I hear my ghost-voice calling

like a manatee mother to her missing children

late in the last night of a landscape scraped empty

of trees and their shadows, moonlight staining the river

yellow, the banks yellow, the only boat yellow,

the moon itself the final exit – small round aperture –

through which I will, watch me now, escape.


– first published in Poet Lore


Lillo Way’s chapbook, “Dubious Moon,” is the winner of the Hudson Valley Writers Center’s Slapering Hol Chapbook Contest 2017. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in New Orleans Review, Poet Lore, Tampa Review, Tar River Poetry, Madison Review, The Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, Poetry East, Roanoke Review, Flying South, The Meadow, among others. Nine of Way’s poems are included in anthologies. Her full-length manuscript, “Wingbone,” was a finalist for the Barry Spacks Poetry Prize from Gunpowder Press.

Why Poetry Matters: Without losing the primary function of language – to communicate – poetry extends language into realms beyond that function, by using words as paint, as musical notes, as dancers’ movement. It is an art form whose medium is words.