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Callaloo 23.1 (2000) 25-26

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The Clearing

Carl Phillips

Part 1: In the Family

Had the light
changed, possibly--or,
differently, was that how I'd
seen it
      always, and not
looking? Was I meant for
a vessel? Did I only
believe so and,
so, for a time, was it true but
only in that space which belief makes
for its own wanting?
What am I going to
do with you
      --Who just
said that?
Whose the body--where--that voice
belongs to?
      Might I turn,
toward it, whinny
into it?
My life
a water, [End Page 25]
or a cure for
that which no water
can cure?
His chest
a forest, or a lush
Even now, shall I choose? Do I
get to?
Have I chosen
      or is choice a thing
hovering yet, an
intention therefore, from
which, though
late, could I hurry back?
What am I going to do with you--    or
Whom for?
      If stay my hand--where
     rest it?

Carl Phillips is the author of From the Devotions, a finalist for the National Book Award, In the Blood, winner of the Samuel French Morse Poetry Prize, Cort├ęge, finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award, and his most recent collection, Pastoral. He teaches at Washington University (St. Louis), where he has also served as the director of the Creative Writing Program.



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pp. 27-28
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