Winter 2009 • Vol. XXXI No. 1 Poetry |

Tell Me a Story

Maybe this is the prettiest time for it, each treebut a variation on the governing form, here,a leaflessness more like death than sleep, less likesinging than remembering what it meant, once,to sing—and the memory, enough. Though it seemstoo early, already there are buds on the star-magnolia—so soft, they feel like a buck's first set of antlers,just beginning to show … When I touch them, something rises inside me, that I at first mistakefor gratitude, and then for regret. It descends, thensettles, like a flock of waterfowl on water, the particularbeauty that attends oblivion attending them also, intheir back-and-forthing, and even after that, when,as I understand it, they'll have grown very still.

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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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