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    Tiger Lilies  
An island of long-necked tiger lilies inspired this poem, but drafts evolved from a literal description of flowers to a reflection on our ability — lilies, insects, humans — to “live on fire / unnoticed.”

 
I wrote this for the man I love on the first morning of my writing residency in Moose Lake, MN.

 
 
I believe, like Lucille Clifton, that “poetry doesn’t have to be fact, it only has to be true.” Yet this moment came to me pretty much as I describe. Gifts enter our lives, gifts depart. I had to write about this one.

 
 
I've always had a love/hate relationship with my hometown. Joliet truly is in my blood.

 
 
"Connecting the Stars" took years to write, because I thought for years that the painting in the poem ("The White Horse," which hangs in the Art Institute in Chicago) was its focus. I finally figured out that the poem was about something larger, less definable, more fragile.
 
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