When Place is What You Once Held Loose, Sarah Lilius

for the Quad Cities

Pipe dreams and cold weather.
Religion, a hot hand, to hold
like a lover, church after church
don crosses like stable hats.

Try to not die the regular death,
heart attack, stroke, in her sleep.
He died in the river, mud in his ears.
Bury the bodies under trees, this never

happens, we’re already decomposing
in our easy chairs, TV news tells us
how to feel, tethered balloons, red
and yellow, ready for lift off, someday.

Some of us, wanderlust fools, want
to leave, seek knowledge, diversity
sure as feet on the ground. What exists,
what lusts, what burns slowly

takes us away. We come back, on all
fours, animals to the family, the grass
we chew. It’s the miles, wet concrete,
lines and curves that bring us home.


Sarah Lilius is the author of four chapbooks including GIRL (dancing girl press, 2017), and Thirsty Bones (Blood Pudding Press, 2017). Some of her work can be found in Tinderbox, Entropy, and Fourteen Hills. Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. Sarah lives in Arlington, VA with her husband and two sons. Her website is sarahlilius.com.

Sarah Lilius recommends Sam Sax, Kaveh Akbar, Ocean Vuong, Ilya Kaminsky, Joanna Valente, Jill Khoury, Kristin Garth, & Juliet Cook.

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