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February 2022

2 Poems by Dylan Willoughby

At the Frick, the Fragonards and silence / Offer at least a modicum of solace.

By Dylan Willoughby

February 5, 2022

2 Poems by Dylan Willoughby


CW: mental illness; death

What To Do In Case of Imaginary Fire

They say my twin was stillborn

That I was the only survivor

But in certain light, I cast two shadows

You have grown up all around me

Your many different selves

It is wrong to say I'm haunted

I was in this ward once, catatonic

My mother said you were drawing me towards death

But you were with me, there

You would make me open my eyelids

You would perform the strangest dance so that I would watch

On the wall a sign gave instructions

In case of fire or imaginary fire

But no one could see your conflagrations


CW: Mental Illness; depression; medication therapy

Losing Ones Mind At The Frick

What blooms does not bloom here.

The stolen light is a beacon, but withheld.

At work, I write a “motion to dismiss.”

A legal brief. More Death’s polite request.

I escape to the city’s clang and clatter,

Where my matter is a matter of indifference.

At the Frick, the Fragonards and silence

Offer at least a modicum of solace.

Too late, the fusillade of SSRIs

Against the brain’s betrayals

The sickness of the mind

Shores up its gloomed artillery

Breaches the enemy’s line.

Try in absentia what absence has left

Thieve from the ruins the ruin’s

Emptiness, from the lost, the lost’s bereft,

Cries the voice, a mirage, a wilderness.

Dylan Willoughby is a permanently disabled LGBTQIA+ poet, composer, music producer, video producer and photographer, born in London and currently living in Long Beach, CA. Find them on Instagram @lostinstarsmusic.

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