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The Glade

by Carl Phillips

Here, complete with half-swallowed cry
of small game rising, stirring
the light, is that ease

with which a legend goes
languorously down on itself,
slow-dying;

this is the air left behind, thick
with the whir of bees flagging, smell
of meadow that’s spent all its arrows,

where every dream is
of difficult breathing, of desire
as a finally grounded bird

whose limbs and blue-black wings
dangle from the dreamer’s mouth,
refusing to come loose. . . .

Here,
where his body lay, gather up all
the broken-stemmed flowers;

photograph the water, that in
the wind repeatedly makes for shore
and misses—

these, for dark Narcissus
who, whatever else and more
he may have been,

was never ours.

 

Carl Phillips received a 1990 fellowship in poetry from the Massachusetts Artists Foundation and has recently had work in or accepted by River Styx, Boston Literary Review, and Hawaii Review. He teaches Latin on Cape Cod. (1991)


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