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Lilah Clay

You Are Eighteen


We love to love the artist long after he fails. 

We invest in brokenness

after it has cut off its ear

and shred 

the mask 

to pierce canvas

or field in sunflowers or song.


We love to love the blade

of grass after it has proven itself.


Who witnesses

the alchemizing of

light from mud?

Who will say,

This dying suits you.


Write it down.


When the eyelids are thick

as slugs from crying,

and you claw at the carpet

for a room beneath the room.


The locked one Rilke says

you are supposed to love

like the questions themselves.


Though the questions are unloveable.


We love to love the struggle

after it has a platform

and has made us a lot of money.


Write it down.


The row of houseplants

broiled in morning sun

on windowsill,

dropping jungle of shade

to translucent 

shower curtain.


Showing you a room

where they can live with their shadow.


Pull the rubber plug 

from clawfoot tub and try

to live with yours.


Write it down.


Then give boyfriend the journal.

Of pain

and tenderness,

and mutilation blood.

Your subconscious evicting 

the tide 

of spirochetes

as if to say— Here, 

the proof is 



We love to love the teenager

who wails into the pot of water,

post-break up, then pours it over 

bleeding heart flower under the porch stairs.


Because even some part of us

used to know how to nourish

the self outside of us, in plant form.


Before we failed.

Brett Stout Broken_Hands_Converge_A_Brea
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