Lily Clifford

Lily Clifford earned a BA from Pitzer College. She is currently working on her first full-length collection of poems, The Confusion of the Tongues. She writes and works in Los Angeles, California.

At Each Cusp of Wheat

scythe and its course, you
dress its orbit lest it kills.

where each eye is called to sway,
away and again back –
the small quadrant of your desire for you.

and of course the iris, blankly so,
like the wheat and taking
before made to want – and always

& in the clouds such a tightness
so that they move afloat.

& this stirring from
the corner of each thing, a simmered by sun,
a finding-in
fists or eyelids, empty, parceled.

unable for the rapture,
the magnetism to be,
teacup overflowing with yellow.

embraces the corner with the feet,
that lazy predilection toward the white.

you, a cloud or germ – a bonfire.

how that parcel should have been you,
a figment you,
illusion you,

My Death

when the parts don’t fit
           together what
      are you going
            to do
               but hope
            that people like it?

                  DR. says don’t
                    fool yourself
        most of my guys
            it’s terrible

      if your brother was
            he’d know
             what not
               to say

The Day Never Comes

disease! this advancement or spread of the ease
of grief,
to the belief that nullifies it.
this notion to dispel it, a virus, a flow

as would transform you into strangers and lovers, friends of loss or grief –
our turn, too.

to revel and peak, brief for curtains that lift;
a blood clot similar to others can attract a new kind of reality.

She’s Standing in the House She Built

She’s got the soft hum of breath on her side, but she’s crying.
She’s crying the way we used to walk to the pasture, the way
she would walk in front of me, stopping to say be careful. The
way the house is dark, now, as if monotony results in beauty
and non-beauty, as if focused attention on the shadows might
make them go away. The if-I-was-a-girl of it strengthens my
case for light. The way I left a gift of a pillow, the way I’ve never
made a second-person out of you. Repeat your name for me.
Repeat the river getting bigger and then smaller again.