The Things We Name

You expand
beyond the limits of your body.
No clarity,
no time.

You’re a variable
without variation.
You’re necessary.
You’re sufficient.
You contain,
contain yourself,
you’re the content.

Of all possibilities,
only this.
A special case,
fleecy and humid.

You say: put it all in order.
You say: take your time.

But we’ve lost faith;
we’re out of time.
Order is long-gone.

Actions and aspects—
we can no longer tell the difference.
The elastic lacks elasticity.

Who did this?
With what?

A cautious approach,
some sawdust,
an assortment of small stones,
some hair of unknown origin,
pocket lint,
flakes of paint,
a few crumbs,
possibly edible.

But you’re not hungry.
Disjunction doesn’t derive from confusion.
A question that no longer poses itself.

It’s in some puddle,
one that overflows.
One that makes room,
a cozy emptiness.

You can settle there comfortably,
take two, three pillows.

Breathe deeply.
Rest easy.
No constraint,
no content.

Here, the void is nonchalant—
it brings together our scattered parts.
Somehow, still, we float.

Through clumsy perforations,
we all construct an exterior.
This one here,
that one there.

Sometimes there’s mending to do,
a fog of obligation.


Riley DonlonRiley Donlon is a poet and translator living in Birmingham, Alabama. She hasn’t done much yet, but at eighteen, she has time. @rileybelldonlon on Twitter.



Simon hmm_Simon Brown is a self-taught poet, translator, and interdisciplinary artist from New Brunswick, Canada. His recent books include Entonnoir de Nous and Le nom-membrane. His work appears in publications including Estuaire, Watts, and The Fiddlehead. His website is