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.