Summer 1994 • Vol. XVI No. 3 Poetry |

Our Lady

In the final hour, our lady—Of the electric rosary, Of the highway, by then Of the snows mostly—was the man he'd always been really, though, yes, we'd sometimes forgotten. Still, even while he lay fanning, as one might any spent flame, whereit was hot, between his legs, and saying it didn't much matter anymore about dying, what came of having come too often, perhaps, to what in the end had fallen short of divine always, he said that more than the bare-chested dancers and all-conquering bass-line that had marked his every sudden, strobe-lit appearance, at precisely the same moment, in all of the city's best clubs; more than the just-heated towels and the water he'd called holy in those windowless, too thinly walled, now all but abandoned bath houses, he regretted the fine gowns that he'd made, just by wearing them, famous; and then, half, it seemed, to remind us, half himself, he re-created the old shrug, slowly raising from his hospital robe—

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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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