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1 poem
by Lily Greenberg

Lily Greenberg is a poet from Nashville, Tennessee and the author of In the Shape of a Woman (Broadstone Books 2022). Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Iron Horse Literary Review, Eco Theo Review, On the Seawall, Cortland Review, and The Shore, among others, and she is the 2023 prize winner of Iron Horse Literary Review's National Poetry Month Contest as well as the 2021 recipient of the Dick Shea Memorial Prize for Poetry. Her poetry has been funded by Bread Loaf Writers, University of New Hampshire, and Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance, and she holds an MFA from the University of New Hampshire. She serves as Poetry Editor for Longleaf Review and Advisory Committee Member of Hudson Valley Writers Center’s Slapering Hol Press. She lives in Nyack, New York.


The first time I said it was to my mother May I please and

then to my bully I said please and then to Jordan Puh-lease

authorized by camo Limited Too pants and Cadet Kelly until

the bean bag debacle of third grade in which Jordan refused to

please scoot over so I Sayonara! picked up my pink/brown Converse

and mushroom haircut Can I please go to the bathroom

the stall, little pleasure field, my singing amplified by the damp

walls, so this is solitude, the pre-conscious sense of self,

before I wrote ridiculous things Please find attached as if

not a self at all but a robot, spaghetti pretending to be plastic,

like laminated menus, easier to clean than nice to hold, I’m talking

about utility, Please not for pleasure, and when did it get that way,

when did I start saying Please to show not politeness exactly

but to get what I want, when did Spring Landlord become Ice Lord,

have I said enough Please, if I remind them I said please

will the rules grow up with me, when I sit after dinner in the open

that is when I want to be approached, dear one, if you miss

your window, if I go to bed and you come scowling after me

in search of pleasure, if you do not get what you want, I wonder,

did you say the magic word, next time could you please.

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