Like the Sweet Wet Earth Itself
                                                                      —Carl Phillips

And after sex: as after rain, a clarity that, though by now proverbial,

could still surprise. Indeed, it did surprise him. All over again,
he could feel, through and through, what most live their entire
lives merely understanding: about apology not erasing cruelty;
about forgiveness not erasing what lingers, shimmering, in cruelty’s
measureless wake; about erasure not being the point, finally, one more
version of wishing backwards—which is to say,
                                                                           too late… The adult
cicada is not the shell-of-itself that it leaves behind. The spent casing
has nothing to do, now, with the bullet lodged in the deer’s throat,
the deer long since split open, dressed, hung by hooks, to drain,
from the barn’s blue rafters. Evidence is not the same
as memory. He’d forgotten, years ago, the question; but the answer—

it never left him, or hardly ever: Yes; for the lion’s foot, too, is feathered.

(This poem is available in our store  
as a broadside signed by the author.)

Carl Phillips

Carl Phillips is the author of fourteen books of poetry, most recently Wild Is the Wind (FSG, 2018), winner of the L.A. Times Book Award. His chapbook, Star Map with Action Figures, comes out from Sibling Rivalry in 2019, and his next full-length book, Pale Colors in a Tall Field, will appear from FSG in 2020. Phillips teaches at Washington University in St. Louis.

ISSN 2472-338X
© 2019