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THE TOM McAFEE DISCOVERY FEATURE Patricia Phülippy Patricia Phillippy is our third Tom McAfee Discovery Feature Poet. She is a graduate student at Yale University. She received her BA and MA degrees from the Writing Seminars program of The Johns Hopkins University. The Tom McAfee Discovery Feature is a continuing series which features the work of an outstanding young poet who has not yet published a book. The prize is funded by the family and friends of Tom McAfee. BERMUDA HIGH / Patricia A. Phillippy Days on end with no relief; they áay That there's a cloud of some kind, some kind Of clog in the atmosphere, hovering over Bermuda. So, we melt, gradually, nowhere near The ocean; the glue comes unstuck all over town, Concrete slipping over concrete, and Every combustible substance combusts. Meanwhile, you wait for a letter that never Arrives, thinking, in the heat, of all The people you never heard from again; How, once, you collected foreign stamps, But now you think that Was your mistake, the taking: Stealing small and artful masterpieces, Scenes of other lives, Countries enchased, recklessly misplaced Once they were received, these Telegrams, in the direst circumstances, Which you never read between the lines Of tropical landscapes immortalized by An official act of some government; The best kind of art on consignment; the kind With a story behind it. Correspondences are hard to see now, Though sometimes you imagine the belly of A huge and filthy ship, Cutting through various oceans, Looking for a million correct addresses, A single safe port of call. Until it runs aground on a tundra, Having strayed too far up north, Far from Bermuda; lodged there, Freezing, waiting for the thaw. The Missouri Review · 97 MONUMENTS / Patricia A. Phillippy On the green is a statue Of Lafayette, telling a tale Of war, and when he stands Below that equestrian figure, At peace, somewhere in the pale Channels of his mind he knows Every word of that inscription. Sometimes the rhythm of A foreign tale in a foreign tongue Seeps into his words, or sways his steps down The hill from the monument to The gallery at the edge of the park. Sometimes he hears pigeons beat Their wings in definite Articles; participles dangle From the penthouse balconies. He does not remember learning This language. At night he Thinks the stars hum in various Chords, careless descants, As they sail headlong into Extinction, like Lafayette And the thousands Coming across a sea that lives In infamy. He knows history Has its own time, and tune. As summer leaves shade the park And the benches curl toward the street like Very old men, dreaming a very old dream, He takes down a careful dictation, Charming the stones into symphony. 98 ¦ The Missouri Review THE GARDEN / Patricia A. Phillippy This woman, remarkable In her own way, lived for the summer In a rundown rowhouse, as a favor To a friend. And behind the house, She let the yard go: all through The summer as the heat grew smothering And wrapped the city in stale blankets Of steam, she never tended to the fences, Or mowed, or groomed the grapevines, Or pruned the peach tree hanging Over the chicken wire border between lawns. The neighbors rebelled, Privately, civic pride seeping even Into this block of ramshackle rowhouses Stretching between the abandoned garage On one corner and the laundromat On the other. Husbands, coaxed By their wives, or maybe in deference To the frailties of a woman living Alone—even one as young and strong (And pretty, even, in her own way) As this one seemed—offered to take care Of the problem; spread A bit of lime for the weeds and A bit of arsenic for the rats. But she always replied, politely, That she could manage right well. So they murmured, in private, And tried to keep their children Away from the yard. The front yard, A cupboard-sized patch of ground, was another Story. She kept it up faithfully, respecting The laws against this sort of thing, Weeds, As if to prevent some Regression to a state of nature, The war of each against each. Where The Missouri...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1548-9930
Print ISSN
0191-1961
Pages
pp. 95-105
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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