CONJUNCTIONS: A Web Exclusive
Our Book of Failures
Lisa Donovan



“The world writing the moon
Is the distance between them and you

Between us”
—Laura Moriarty


We are in a middle land. In the middle land there’s no counting, no chanting. In the middle land there’s no scratching, no licking, no shuffling of feet. Here, in the middle, we talk about the breeze; this breeze, here. We are in the middle land and there’s no one here—not me, not you. Here in the middle land we change our figures out of this into sand. From sand we fall—we are falling. In the middle land we are without telling. In the middle land there are only questions. We question, here, in the middle land. In the land we are without speaking. What does it mean to speak? We are in the middle land. There’s no light. What is light? Are you in the middle land? You are in the middle land. You don’t know light, don’t know dark. You, in the middle land, don’t know speech—are without name. What name? No name. You are collapsing, no, collapsed in the question. What does it matter? In the middle land you are here. You have never arrived. You are. You are. You are. In the middle land you are sand. We can talk only of the breezes. Hush now, we haven’t yet slept, are now sleeping. That’s a lie.
We lie, here, in the middle land. You lie, tell lies, here in the middle land. No. We shut them out. We take them and push them out. No lies. We don’t like them. You don’t like them. In the middle land there’s no betrayal. In the middle land there is a dream of deception but it is never middle, it is ever outer. You are a deceiver. You are a deceiver. Here in the middle land we don’t point, we question. Why do you lie? We’ve forgotten. In the middle we take things two by two without counting. They are. Things just are. We accept them. We accept, here, in the middle land. In the middle land there’s no shouting. We listen to the breezes. You are the breeze. We listen to you. Here in the middle land there is and isn’t nothing. There is a dream of a mountain. What mountain? The mountain is ever outer, is not center, is not middle. Here, in the middle land you are inhaling. You exhale into the middle. Do you sink? You are ever sand. It is sand here. We don’t know how to call it. We call what it is sand. It is sand.
Here in the middle land you are a line. A line. A line. A line. Here in the middle land there is no touching. We don’t touch. There is a memory of fingers but, in the middle land, there’s no approximating. We don’t touch. Here in the middle land you are you, but you aren’t. Does this bother you? Don’t be bothered. It’s not allowed, here, in the middle land. We accept what we can, here, in the middle land.
It’s possible you don’t like it here in this land. It’s possible that ever middle is ever uncomfortable. Push it out. It’s possible that this does bother you. Don’t be bothered. Listen to the breezes. You are a breeze. We listen to you. Here, in the middle land, we question. What question? Is it uncomfortable to you? Don’t answer. You can’t if you wanted to. These things happen, here, in the middle land. These things are always and already, here, in the middle land.
There’s a dream of a flower spinning and in between palms. May we spin, here, in the middle land? Are palms allowed, here, in the middle land? We allow no actions or rather they are not allowed, here, in the middle land. In the land flowers are allowed, as are stars seen in daylight. Daylight is allowed, here in the land. It is not light, is other. In the middle land stars are necessary. How necessary? Stars are a necessary departure, here, in this land. What does that mean? Pretend you want to. In the middle land it is necessary to pretend. How otherwise could we be sand? We are sand. We listen to the breezes. The flower is ever outer. We can’t touch it—it’s not possible. Oh, the impossible. No, not possible. In the middle land here is in relation, not approximation to what won’t. In the middle land there’s no speaking, no touching, no breathing that isn’t breezes. In the middle land there are the stars, but they aren’t for seeing. The stars are. It is daylight, is always daylight, here, in the middle land.
How is always? Oh, how you question. We question, here, in the middle land. You are a deceiver. You are a deceiver. You are a deceiver. We push you out. In the middle land you are a line pressed out. How do you remember? We don’t remember. There is nothing to remember. There is no remembering to remember, here, in the middle land. If you are a deceiver how do you know? Stop, you’ve forgotten how to question. We question like this. In the middle land everything can be ever outer, is never inner. We are in the middle. You are in the middle. What flowers are is not. What flowers are is everything—is not. Do you remember? Stop. We wake, here, in the middle land. Are you waking?
In the land it is ever daylight. We shy away from light? We have to. That is the way. Can you explain? Why explain? You are. You are. You are. Are what? Are middle. Are never and ever outer, here, in the middle land. You must pretend. Why pretend? We are sand. Have you forgotten?



Lisa Donovan lives in Edgewater, CO. Her first book, Red of Split Water, a burial rite, was a Kelsey Street Press FIRSTS! finalist and a Noemi Poetry Prize semifinalist and will be published by Trembling Pillow Press in 2016. Her work can also be found at Kelsey St. Press Blog, E-ratio, Glitter Pony, Denver Quarterly, Jacket Magazine, Paul Revere’s Horse, and Interrupture.