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About this poet

Gary Copeland Lilley is the author of four poetry collections: Alpha Zulu (Ausable Press, 2008), Black Poem (Hollyridge Press, 2005), The Reprehensibles (Fractal Edge Press, 2004), and The Subsequent Blues (Four Way Books, 2004). He teaches in Port Townsend, Washington.

Unmarked Grave

Old man, if it'll help you rest, the shotgun
that has gone from first son to first son

did not come to me, but I do wear the epitaph
of one of your old suits. I remember we stood

in the order of our birth years, children
of the children you left, all holidays

waiting the big Buick to pull in the yard.
For those meals of ash, now you have no stone.

I remember how much you drank and cussed.
Pistol, you burned your people like a torch.

A weed stalk is the devil's walking stick,
the bastard, I know it matters to you

that none of your blood will bring a flower
and nobody but me will cut this grass.

From Alpha Zulu by Gary Lilley. Copyright © 2008 by Gary Lilley. Published by Ausable Press. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.

From Alpha Zulu by Gary Lilley. Copyright © 2008 by Gary Lilley. Published by Ausable Press. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.

Gary Copeland Lilley

Gary Copeland Lilley is the author of four poetry collections: Alpha Zulu (Ausable Press, 2008), Black Poem (Hollyridge Press, 2005), The Reprehensibles (Fractal Edge Press, 2004), and The Subsequent Blues (Four Way Books, 2004). He teaches in Port Townsend, Washington.

by this poet

poem
I know more people dead than people alive,
my insomniac answer to self-addressed prayers

is that in the small hours even God drinks alone.
My self-portrait; gray locks in the beard, red eyes

burning back in the mirror, the truths of grooves
and nicks on my face, one missing tooth.

I'm a man who's gathered too