Richard Quigley




Conditioned by harm,
I was always told

Where to go
Or to not move at all.

Trust was a blood sport.
Hunger, heretical.

First, the defiance:
I was the lastborn

Thieved into speaking
Against the bright heel

Of the hound.
Then, the penance:

A sentence
Carved out in the jaw.

At my kindest, I am
Always to blame.

Not once
Did I want this

To be planted,
Let alone bloom.




When you left for the last time,
I stayed up all night waiting
For the hillside to give.

Then, hail.

Behind the gas station, I found
Our ghosts unraveling themselves
Out of aerosol-soaked rags.

The ghost brother, his face
As hideous as his sister’s.
We were hunted down.

Then, the world.


RICHARD QUIGLEY is currently an MFA candidate in poetry at Columbia University. He lives and works in New York.