Duration by Lizzy Petersen


Durée de vie printed on the box of
lightbulbs stacked in the employee bathroom.
Something something life, that is
a measurement. Endurance,

hurdle of light. Time, let me shape you
into a span: The hour the butterfly’s
wings inflate—a reach, a finger
stretched back on the hand—

and the trigger between memory
and memory. Fluorescent. Taking
precious time to turn on but goes out like a—
a light, I guess. A dead phone

fills space, an autumnal tulip. Crowds.
Persists. I lose its charger and
sure enough I grow less and less
certain of midnight’s low blue glow.


LIZZY PETERSEN served as the Managing Editor at River Styx for two years and now works as their Grant and Outreach Manager. Previously, she worked as the Poetry Co-Editor of Sycamore Review at Purdue University, where she received her MFA in Poetry. Her work has appeared in Coldfront, FifthWednesdayPlus, the Harriet blog, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and Zócalo Public Square. She teaches at Fontbonne University in St. Louis.