Readings — From the July 2015 issue

Asphodel

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By Elizabeth Willis, from a work in progress. New York Review Books published Willis’s sixth collection, Alive, in April. She received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2012.

Start with
an ordinary president

his sweater, his door

Can’t we just fail
different

driving a leaf

through un-
resistant corn

Punch, Judy

Without the comma
it’s a command

“Come hither”

Like a cartoon
the bombing begins

in the middle

of banned
books week

Its pillow talk
can be reversed

but not rewound

A myth
is not a romance

Out back
it’s an appointment

Asphodel at 3

You have to name it
You have to take it

to hell with you

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