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Riley Ratcliff

Two Poems

Riley Ratcliff

I don’t really care about my Art

Who lets please and thank you mean

the loose ends of the body?) brushed


naturally slick, iced (recession


runs green (there is a sick light outside

the body (calls me from the woods


In simple pain, the blanket

caught (old

structural pain) /What is so difficult about a night spent uncritical with blonds (self- 


made) their bleached- /out art)

I know why they love October


In the inward drive to dress

down it tunnels through the wrist


touching the passenger-side door

before me. Truly anti-social


With an impossibly long breath, Reed

spoke fondly of your art, said                        (however


he doesn’t really care about you

or your body.

                                                                               (fair mystification of life


when he moves to Jersey /and redoes himself as kind

                                                                                                             /To lose all means to love

There are no words”                                        (in any language

Nothing but a piece of plywood and the desire to

Focus underfoot, focus without definite attention

one’s frame narrows through the day-


the mouths of reddened shadows (affection for mint

tea and the flowering age I caught


from C) how to live

on nothing but the fruit and fungus one is given                (in the heat outside the co-op


Long ties with Aimee & Alex: some porch, a roof

certain qualities of sky, — anniversary —


a simple point to live by- /that time-

is of the body, and comfort

                                                              /teaches to undo

the raw edges of one’s growth

once transgressed) the backdoor trails in one’s lap


the chills one shares with the gaps inside one’s city            (the warmth inside thin paper

that we are taught to unfeel (chlorophyllic


cream near-

green grays. a silhouettish blue) the skototropic center of each life-form


feels- /somehow more familiar than its perceptible

glow; take laughter


for instance, as we sift through orphaned seeds

an ashen sunset (fewer clothes-

                                                                               /sharing meals

one another an arctic blue (our meridians

buried in the line (a distant phone for inner signals

Riley Ratcliff (they/she) is a poet from San Antonio, Texas (Yanaguana). They currently live on unceded Narragansett land in Providence, Rhode Island, where they are an MFA student at Brown University. Recent work can be found in the tiny, Denver Quarterly, b l u s h, APARTMENT Poetry, Afternoon Visitor, DIAGRAM, and elsewhere. 

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