The American Journal of Poetry
"Strong Rx Medicine"®


Lillo Way

Manifesto after Wendell Berry


Expect the end of your nation as you know it. Plant alternate rows
of weeping and laughter.

Loosen your mind. Drop it in the brown earth where it will take root
or become compost.

Invest in the slow-moving, the tortoise. Plant white oak trees.
Call the golden insects eating the undersides of their leaves profit.

Praise horsetail, morning glory, dandelion. Have faith in weeds
and all things uncontrollable.

Say your main crop is stars. Their constellations your formal garden.
Ask who will harvest them.

Put your faith in ashes after wildfire. Prophesy flood. Listen
to rain on the roof, on the broad and narrow leaves.

Say your main crop is talk. Count noise as profit. Donate
your living ears. Plant giant voids. Gather the echoes.

Put your faith in rodents. Leave them the house in your will.
Prophesy insects. Put your ears close to the crisp shells of cicadas.

Water your fields with tears. Call salt profit. Ask who will lick.
Invest in dark colors. Harvest mushrooms, moss and mast.

Pledge allegiance to the most beautiful thing you can think of.
Among so many candidates how will you ever chose?



Lillo Way



smell the rain breathe the rain suck
the rain swallow the rain finger
the rain make love to the rain
get stuck in the rain go naked
in the rain go lame go insane

rain all night all day
thwart our plans ground our planes
rain your heart out your guts out
your brains out   spill   sluice

slice in curtains of rain blankets
stained and counterpanes of rain
a mindblower gullywasher
sod-soaker fence-lifter trash-mover

a trainful an alleyful a mountainful
of rain   a valleyful   a river strained
a plain swiped clean by rain

I beg it don’t stop don’t stop don’t
even slow down   don’t slow up
or sideways   rain faster rain louder
beat pound drench drown

rain oh rain the rain of rains




LILLO WAY's poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Poet Lore, Tampa Review, New Orleans Review, Tar River Poetry, Madison Review, The Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, Poetry East, Santa Fe Literary Review and WomenArts Quarterly, among others. Her full-length manuscript, “Wingbone,” was a finalist for the Barry Spacks Poetry Prize from Gunpowder Press, and her chapbook manuscript, “The Life We’ve Slept Here,” was a finalist in the Grayson Books Chapbook Competition. Eight of her poems have been anthologized. She lives in Seattle.



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