Lily Emerick









Even the Sunlight


This spring         sewage fills up the basement

& the plumber asks me     if I understand why

this is happening       Yes      I say     though none of this

makes sense     not the pump failing    nor the contaminated

quality thickening       even the sunlight     All the days

in April arrive     pre-sliced like bread      I consume them

diligently    one after another      Upstairs lately there is a grinding

metallic sound       though it is only the bedroom window

that won’t latch    but vibrates insistently in the wind     a kind of bird

swinging on a caged trapeze      while the rain      stuffed awkwardly

into bloated clouds      skulks across the sky     Still

each flower is never enough        the stalk ringed by dead

petals        a private burial mound          & the daffodils

with their star-faces        are feeble constellations

to steer by         I do not understand      why the seasons insist

on lurching on        like sticks thrown in a stream

Just as I don’t know why      today      when a fawn

stepped in front of me       I wanted to get down

on my knees on the pavement      to kiss its velvet

why I wanted to cry


Penelope Writes Odysseus



The grass is unruly since you left

instead of foot trails

it is all one sweeping path

to the sea         the sharp cudgels

of sheep hooves make no marks

they bleat themselves hoarse

at the waves     Telemachus

prefers to lie in the fields rather than run

through the village with other boys

his birthday last week     sixteen years old

with your hard hands      though not the white scars

that must now be spreading  across your skin

like lightning         I unravel

threads nightly that I pray will not

be your funeral shroud

though it would be worse

to have no body at all


How long could bloated

and battered flesh survive the salt

of the sea?       And what    of the unmarked

soul bobbing in its wake?


Yes the suitors come

I do not care for them but they are

a company of sorts     they neglect

to ask me if I ever want to lose

myself in the overgrown grasses

I neglect to tell them I dream

of it often        my body a shipwreck

sun-blazed bone breaking

into sand           and the ocean

unreproachable in the distance


Waiting       I am a woman encased in stone

a film of marble obscures my eyes

my hands lie cupped and heavy       when I remember

how you built our bed     I see it all wrong

In that time before the war     I watch

as you kiss my feet     and pluck the living tree

from the soil          the roots writhing

above the earth                the mud

clinging to them like blood


Lily Emerick lives in the Willamette Valley, Oregon where she writes poetry and works on an organic farm. She holds a Bachelor of Architecture and BA in Spanish from the University of Oregon. She is an emerging writer and has previously been published in The Broken City.