Poetry by Richard Quigley

C L O R O X

A play gown dragged through dirt,
The story as excuse for the voice.
Even if a white sun welts the white snow,
Winter will finish itself out.
Once, someone forgot to look up
From what he was doing. 

 

H A Z A R D    A V E N U E

A hand slipped down the back, the toads came apart
At the bottom of a covered-over pool.

Teenagers draped across car hoods,
Their streets, draped in slipping light: autumn

Waned and sugared as spit

Glittering out the passenger-side window
During the perfect night drive

When my father is hit dead on.

*

And there you were, the boy who refused to look
Anyone dead in the eyes before driving himself inside

Smashed into a sheet of glass.

With a face after the lunch-period sucker-punch.
With a face split like a tomato.

This was called an accident. It was reported as accident.

*

On the other side of town, we didn’t ask for anything.
We weren’t broken, only deformed

In our kingdom of no color.

Surrounded by science,
We had no hope to understand

Why blood comes from the ear. How the doctor can die for
What he lives to do.

*

There was no me before the ruin. No story. No shrill.
I still look for the longest way to come home.

It isn’t getting any earlier.

*

A jewel still glows
When crushed, the wreck lit out of it.

*

How generous you’ve been tonight
To let me picture you grown, living well and failing to remember.

And there I will be, whether you remember me
Forever blond against your backseat,

Warm against your window.

How beautifully you sleep
To the sound of grief entering the body,

The sound of me blowing open. 

 

T H E   I N T E M E R A T E 

Again tonight, a girl arrives
Strung out in half-light.
She leads me to the roadside

Where my father is still
Breathing. As his body gives
Out, the unknowable begins.

The opposing sword enters
A prince, inflicting the kingdom
Onto itself. Something else

Takes me out of focus. No longer
Days to draw on, the fallen
Are left blue and artery warm.

By the last turn, will I come back
To the white of the field—
Stumbling, bruised, brilliant. 

 

Richard Quigley is a recent graduate of the MFA Writing Program at Columbia University School of the Arts. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Adroit JournalPhantomB O D Y, among other publications. He lives in New York where he is currently working on his first manuscript.