Poem: Maggie Ilersich

Moon and clouds. Illo for poem by Maggie Ilersich.

Nighttime Ritual

Every now and then        I leave        the bathroom
toothbrush in hand    to talk     about the marriage-
ability of a state like Nebraska          if Nebraska
were human     or some bruise yellowing    on my foot
you are reading about the moon           its supposed
influence             on our bodies            inside
you   the slight lengthening of day    I drop my head
to your neck     you thumb my     black coral earring
listen      do not accept      milkwater for snowmelt
or fall for some bear    drunk    on its own wildness
you must know           there are things I don’t like
the idea of     the past     could halve itself again
and again   ad    infinitum    still I don’t know you
with that bad haircut     beneath the grapefruit tree
or the spring you developed          a compulsion for
catching cottonwood seeds      you see       we never
suffered the same           weather            when I
pressed my cheek      against a window       I always
parted             colder

Maggie Ilersich is currently living in northern Ohio. She attended George Washington University in Washington, D.C., where she was a 2012–13 Lannan Fellow at the Folger Shakespeare Library and the recipient of the 2013 Hassan Hussein thesis prize in poetry.

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