Darren C. Demaree

Emily as an Open Hand


We painted the lilies
in the front yard blue.
We slapped each of them

with cheap oils until
they bowed to our intentions.
It made their roots

worthless, so we brought
them inside. It was all a show.
We don’t even carve initials

into the trees in the back,
but we had to show
all of our neighbors

just how far we were willing
to go to make Ohio
worthy of our rising blood.



Emily as Strangeness


I dated one Emily
& I married another.
I’ve moved

from Canyon
to Olentangy
& there was

a different Emily
in each house.
All those promises

we keep making
must be carried on
by people different

than us now.
I know it’s strained
to write four thousand

poems for the same girl,
but strangeness
is a beast

that never yawns.
I pull on the bright thing
next to me

& it’s always her.
The roaring
cannot wait.



Emily as We Hover to Ache


We do not live on paper
as if it is a blank map
waiting to be wounded

by our naming.
We are tourists. That’s true,
but it doesn’t change

how dangerous it is to want
to exist beneath
our understanding.







Darren C. Demaree is the author of fifteen poetry collections, most recently Burning It Down (8th House Publishing).