from “there were real officers in the streets”

Deborah Landau

~It was good getting drunk in the undulant city,whiskey lopping off the day's fear—dawn came with an element of Xanax,dusk came and I dumbed myself down.Where there were brides, grooms,these bored boysoldiers with iPhones and guns.I'm a soft target, you're a soft target,and the city has a hundred hundred thousand softs;the pervious skin, the softness of the face,the wrist inners, the hips, the lips, the tongue,the global body,its infinite permutable softnesses—soft targets, soft readers, drinkers,pedestrians in rain;in the failing light we walked outand now we share a room with it(would you like to read to me in the softwould you like to enter me in the softwould you like a lunch of me in the softin its long delirium?)The good news is we have each other.The bad news is Kalashnikov assault rifles,submachine guns, pistols, ammunition,four boxes packed with thousands of small steel balls.

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Deborah Landau is the author of four collections of poetry. Her work has appeared in The American Poetry Review, The Best American Poetry, The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Paris Review, Poetry, Tin House, and The Wall Street Journal. In 2016 she was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship. She teaches in and directs the creative writing program at New York University and lives in Brooklyn with her family.

"Landau gives us the sublime feeling that formal accomplishment comes with a steep cost. Art uses us; it may even use us up."
The New Yorker

"Landau reminds us that coming of age lasts well beyond adolescence."
Vogue

"Landau's lyrical poems gaze unflinchingly at desire, sex, motherhood, marriage, regret, and all the strange wonders and vulnerabilities of the body."
BuzzFeed

"Landau's killer wit evokes Dorothy Parker crossed with Sylvia Plath—leaping spark after spark, growing to deadly dark fire...with lines of grave and startling beauty."
Los Angeles Times

"As Landau explores her physical self and her sexuality, she's tart, witty, fluid, direct, and brutally honest, and her work can be appreciated by any reader."
Library Journal

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