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For Julie Hilden, in memoriam

By Dylan Willoughby

(Marsyas blow through us)

(become a song become song)

(to latch onto life its “little hours”)

(to sing to utter is to belong)

I awoke from the “procedure” a puzzled

Lazarus calling on the sweet

oboe while the anesthesia muzzled

anything I had to say for once for once

a silence overtook us and saying

would only break the words’ retreat

Lamentations we did well and often to

accompany the fear of “early

onset” the prize we never wanted the

legacy of haunt nearly as bad as

the thing itself the inescapable condition

Bow out and refuse nature’s course refute

the trajectory of forgetting all embrace

whatness and thisness before they escape

ghosts but lately come

O this word does not translate

across perception’s lines does

not illuminate our tethered binds (raising

the dead does not enter our minds) the

stars fled while we stargazing an

empty sky it seemed empty but for us

*“Ghosts but lately come” refers to Ovid Metamorphoses, Book III, trans. Mary M. Innes


Dylan Willoughby is a permanently disabled LGBTQIA+ poet, composer, music producer, and photographer, born in London, England, and currently living in Los Angeles, CA. Chester Creek Press has published three limited-edition chapbooks, illustrated by the painter Anthony Mastromatteo.

A note on the dedicatee: Dylan met Julie Hilden in the MFA program at Cornell University and they remained good friends until her untimely passing on March 17, 2018.

Dylan can be found on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Bandcamp.


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