by Carl Phillips
has just entered a meadow’s
airspace, and in turn the meadow
becomes all but noiseless. You’re
asleep, finally. The competing
fears that cross your face routinely
at last give way, not to innocence
exactly, maybe more a freedom
from having to be anyone
to anyone – that alone, but
this time not minding it. Is it true
that only by having first passed
through absolute despair
can we arrive at anything close
to self-knowing? Are birds in dreams
still considered dangerous
because they mean possibility?
Now when I say body, it’s as if
to correct myself for what I missed
before, looking elsewhere.
I’m a song, changing. I’m a light
rain falling through a vast
darkness toward a different
darkness. It could be anything –
the earth; it could be the sea.
Carl Phillips’s most recent book of poems is Pale Colors in a Tall Field (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2020). Phillips teaches at Washington University in St Louis.