Summer 2002 • Vol. XXIV No. 3/4 PoetryJuly 1, 2002 |

As a Blow, from the West

Names for the moon: Harvest; and Blue; and Don't Touch Me— and Do. I dreamed I had made a home on the side of a vast, live volcano, that the rest was water, that I was one among many of no distinction: we but lived there, like so many birds that, given the chance not to fly for once in formation, won't take it, or cannot, or—or—but what of choice can a bird know? Down the volcano's sides, in the pose of avalanche except frozen, and so densely it seemed impossible they should not strangle one another—yet they did not—grew all the flowers whose names I'd meant to master; it was swift, the dream—so much, still, to catch up to—though I could not have known that, of course, then: isn't it only in the bracing and first wake of loss that we guess most cleanly the speed with which what held us left us? In the dream, the world was birdless, lit, yielding, it seemed safe, which is not to say you weren't in it. You were, but changed

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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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