Today's poem is by Carl Phillips


What stalked the room was never envy.
Is not regret, anymore,

nor fail. We are

we resemble hardly
ever those birds now, noising but
not showing from their double

I miss them.

I forget what I wanted to
mean to you.
                     I forget what I
meant to give to you, that I haven't.

You, in sleep still,
the dog restless, wanting

out, like a dream of the body caught
shining inside a struggling whose
end it cannot know will be
no good one.

Outside, the basil shoots to flower; the neighbors'
burro, loose, astray, has
found the flowers, his

head enters and tilts
up from the angle confusable with
adoration. His hooves pass

—like God doing, for now,
no damage to them—

the heirloom tomatoes: Beam's Yellow Pear,
Russian Black,
Golden Sunray, what sweetness once
looked like, how it tasted

All that time.

I have held faces lovelier—lovelier, or
as fair.
            They make sense
eventually. Your own begins to:

fervor of a man
cornered; unuseful tenderness with which,

to the wound it won't survive, the animal
puts its tongue.

Copyright © 2002 Carl Phillips All rights reserved
from Indiana Review, Spring 2002
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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