Weekly Poem: From ‘The Last Usable Hour’

By Deborah Landau

forgive me for not sleeping
this city is all spinning                 all sky

this city is dry and the people all wanting
each with a coin purse                each with a thirst in her

dear someone                I put a shimmer on or you
tonight I am all sequins                all lies

for you I’ve slit my skirt
made a neckhole of longing

I am always a nighttime on the inside
barefoot and heretic

I need god or at least the police

say there are no more empty places
say you will sleep again in my bed

lie down

let the night pour up through us
fluid cherry dark

others are lying down

bedrooms are going red with it
all over this town


Deborah Landau is the author of “Orchidelirium,” which won the Anhinga Prize for Poetry, and “The Last Usable Hour” (2011, Copper Canyon Press). She is the director of the NYU Creative Writing Program.