On the Occasion Of

Rachel Milligan
Windows at night

It’s easier before the first time
because afterward, you know 

what you’re doing. This type
of knowing is a sweatmark 

left on the leather seat
of a taxi cab. You think of 

yourself. Is she laundry fresh,
inchoate succubus, 

is she a genius? O, how
I love the smell of genius. 

Baby lips part to let the snake
tongue come through. 

Once, through a hotel
window, I saw a riverboat 

casino wink at me. O, obscenity.
I’m told backyard cats take 

time growing into
those big heads. I’m told 

nighttime brings you closer
to the dead. I’m told 

the caged octopus always
gets her meat. My glasses 

gone, this nighttime softly
tears paper into pieces with 

the television on. I am
inertia bloom in the lone 

blue light. I fall in love
with everyone I meet.

Rachel Milligan’s poems and translations can be found in BOAAT, Similar:Peaks::, Pathlight Magazine, smoking glue gun, and elsewhere. She was a Pflughaupt Fellow in Creative Writing, as well as a U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholar in Chinese. She earned her MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and she lives in Philadelphia.