Spring 2005 • Vol. XXVII No. 2 PoetryApril 1, 2005 |

Erasure

Brindled, where what's left of the light finds him, he cowers in front of me: one way, as I remember it, that a body having grown accustomed to receiving punishment expresses   receipt, or a readiness for it, or—wild, bewildered—the desire to.   Above us, the usual branches lift unprophetically or not, depending: now spears; now arrows. There's a kind of tenderness that makes more tender          all it touches. There's a need that ruins. Dark. The horse comes closer. A smell to him like that of the earth when it's been too long dry, drought-long, and the rain just starting, that first release, up, that the earth gives up like a name meant to be kept secret, or as when the memory of rescue has displaced the chance of it, unlooked-for, into   clearer view: like that exactly: oh he smells like the sweet wet earth, itself.

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Carl Phillips
Carl Phillips is the author of thirteen books of poems, most recently Reconnaissance (FSG, 2015). He teaches at Washington University in St. Louis.

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