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Callaloo 24.4 (2001) 1159-1160

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Carl Phillips

Half litter,
half decoration,
so have they lain all day
in shadow,
two of them
--sleeping now.
Let them.
They are like the myth that
comes after.
that are said to have appeared
in a small circle above
the water where
someone drowned--was
made to drown. They are
like the magnolia-tree that
all the more seems
to flourish when looked at
against a backdrop of
seasonal casualties--
the spent,
bird-ravaged seed-cones--
Even the horse,
beside the tree, tied
to it,
could not possibly be [End Page 1159]

more still and
still be breathing.

The bells on the horse's bridle:
bells of jade--
so thin,
the very least of a wind
shakes them.
Their song is unmistakable.
You can hear it.
How it gives them away.

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. 1163-1164
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