Somewhere, right now, a hawk

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. 

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