The Boardwalk lit up in constellations
of tilt-o-whirls and loop-o-planes,
and I can’t find a word to express loneliness that brilliant
and hard-won.
I have a stillness in me that’s
yellow-paged and bramble-lashed.
I think the word I want
is sacrosanct—when the Boardwalk closes
and the janitor appears, his cigarette
a spark above his yellow cart
its red handled mops
and red bristled brooms
smoke shadow like a blue whale
twisting in the garland of its own exhale.
We live here on earth.
We thirst. We crave salt.
Our mouths crave other mouths—
the crack of teeth against teeth.
I don’t want it to fall away.
I want the world to be real.
I want to see what’s incarnate here and in return
be seen.
The soft throat of a poem.
Mirror of trees.
Bright abandoned scraps that swirl above the
push of brooms.




The author Lisa Allen Ortiz is lying fully clothed in a bathtub reading a book.Lisa Allen Ortiz is the author of Guide to the Exhibit, winner of the 2016 Perugia Press Prize and two chapbooks: Self Portrait as a Clock and Turns Out. Her poems have appeared in Colorado Review, Zyzzyva, and Beloit Poetry Journal and have been featured on Verse Daily and in the anthology Best New Poets.
This is Lisa Allen Ortiz’s third appearance in TLR. You can read more of her work here.


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