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Callaloo 24.4 (2001) 1155-1156

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Carl Phillips

From inside a stillness like that
of leaves hanging in the same
damp and
thick with which the heat
itself hangs,
heavy--across it,
no wind--how
one of the men would
turn his body,
or three would,
together but slowly as if
after a series of blows staggered
back from,
each taking into
himself some part of the other until,
joined, they seemed
one of those states passed
through with so little
engagement barely
more than the driving has
stayed remembered, the landscape
opening like
no end to it, a longing for anywhere
some resistance, some
stop, or
until it became possible [End Page 1155]
almost to understand them
in the way that God,
in the psalms, briefly,
gets understood--
a moth,
consuming what is dearest to him
--while of the others,
the ones who, never having
left an initial stillness, lay
prone and shouting, what
else but that
they were there also, how long
ago it was, and that
their shouting was
not, I think, the shout of joy?

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, Pastoral, and his most recent collection, Tether (2001). 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. 1159-1160
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