Mar/Apr 2018 • Vol. XL No. 2 PoetryMarch 1, 2018 |

The Same in Sun as It Felt in Shadow

Crownless now, intransitive, neither at rest nor not at rest between to be shaken and to be less shaken, in his head he's the magnolia's branches, he's the cast of ravens scattered loose among them. To envy a wilderness, as opposed to becoming one: he has learned the difference, how all the more powerful parts to a life—as to art, as well, when it's worth remembering—resist translation. Whence comes their power. My trade is mystery, this song I also call mystery, he says to himself, half-singing. As if joylessness were technically just a word, in which joy figures, or he ever believed as much. He has learned the hard way. As if sensation could stop being a ceaseless wheel once the wheel stopped turning. He has learned the hard way, the only way that counts here, and won't go back.  ⏺ ⏺     So dark the night had been, not until daybreak did they know for certain where they'd made their camp was not so far from where, days earlier,

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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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