Donald Illich


We were asked to travel northwest
but nothing appeared but blank page,
an edge where we could fall off,
a desk we call run over, breaking
our bones.  It was better once,
when we stayed in text, refused
to listen to the voices outside us.
We worked with the letters,
jumped up and down with joy
when we completed a paragraph.
Those who said go southeast,
into the binding, the copyright page,
were the people everyone should hate.
There was an end waiting for us.
A resolution to the story, touching,
affecting, beautiful.  All we needed
was a map for fiction, one for lies
more important than the truth.
A spot where mountains challenged
us.  A forest full of vast intrigue.
Lakes with depths of character.
As we reached the last city, cheered
by all its citizens, we felt as if we
had accomplished something.  We'd
looked for our hearts and found them.

The Moon Is Up

I left for work with the moon still up.
I thought I should say something to it,
praise for staying up late so long, confusion
for wondering why it hadn't retired yet.
The buildings were wreathed in fading
darkness, the windows portholes to light.
Traffic ran as usual, speedy beetles
exiting, entering streets, imparting noise
of their farewells, exhaust and silence
when they departed.  The gray mums died
next to the sidewalk.  The puddles left
the path, the clouds taking the water.
Only a little mud touched the grass,
which was still bright green, despite fall,
despite leaves collapsing on the ground.
If I could I'd build a miniature model
of this little world.  I'd plant myself
in the middle, hands reaching out
toward the sky, as if I could change things
by praying to the blackness above me.
Except, it was a work day, and dreams
of holding everything in my hands
were illusory.  Here was my brown desk,
my monitor, my keyboard.  I was the action
figure typing up a memo.  Watching
the sun come back through the blinds,
feeling I was heroic just being there.

Donald Illich has published work in LIT, The Iowa Review, Nimrod, and other publications.  He is a writer-editor who lives in Rockville, Maryland.



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