By Deborah Landau

Dazzling emptiness of the black green end of summer no one

running in the yard pulse pulse the absence.


Leave them not to the empty yards.


They resembled a family. Long quiet hours. Sometimes

one was angry sometimes someone called her “wife”

someone’s hair receding.


An uptick in the hormone canopy embodied a restlessness

and oh what to do with it.


(How she arrived in a hush in a looking away and not looking.)


It had been some time since richness intangible

and then they made a whole coat of it.


Meanwhile August moved toward its impervious finale.

A mood by the river. Gone. One lucid rush carrying them along.


Borderless and open the days go on—

About the author


Deborah Landau is the author of Soft Targets (2019), The Uses of the Body (2015) and The Last Usable Hour (2011), both Lannan Literary Selections from Copper Canyon Press, and Orchidelirium (2004), which was selected by Naomi Shihab Nye for the Robert Dana Anhinga Prize for Poetry.

Her work has appeared in the Paris ReviewTin HousePoetry, the New Yorker, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times, and has been featured on NPR’s All Things Considered. Her poems have been widely anthologized in places such as The Best American Erotic PoemsPlease Excuse This Poem: 100 New Poets for the Next Generation, Not for Mothers Only, and Women’s Work: Modern Poets Writing in English.

Landau studied at Stanford University, Columbia University, and Brown University, where she was a Jacob K. Javits Fellow and earned a PhD in English and American Literature. For many years she co-directed the KGB Bar Monday Night Poetry Series and co-hosted the video interview program Open Book on In 2016, she was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship.

Landau is director of the Creative Writing Program at New York University, where she also teaches. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, sons, and daughter.

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