For When Nothing Is Remembered

On the eighth day we looked on and realized

it wasn’t good anymore. Where did they go,

the shared rituals? We buy greeting cards

that could be sent to anyone, nineteenth

century fixtures shine without a lamplighter

and the city spent millions wiring

the whatnot.


Coffee in a paper cup, a painted wood duck,

little darlings on the back stairs fed

morning and night–no one born yesterday

will ever see contraptions that we use to

communicate. What of the game under

the tree root left behind the hill?

Step up.


And leave the affirmations by the wayside.

Inveigling all the separate types who

might begin to dance is no path of light.

Your hygienist can look for other work.

You might as well slink off to your room

without lipstick or a gold dress, seeds

in your hair.





Mary Gilliland is an internationally published poet and recipient of numerous awards including Stanley Kunitz Fellowship at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Cornell University Council for the Arts Faculty Grant, BBC Wildlife Magazine Poet of the year Award for Nature Poetry, featured poet at the Al Jazeera International Film Festival, and recent residency at MASS MoCA.


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