The First Last Light in the Sky

That on the silent horizon, something
Not a sunrise rose, half itself and half
The horizon, dragging its bulk, its lights
And salts, from under shifting sheets of sea,
Leveling the sky into shallow moats
Of sounds, flecks of birds, beginning again
To believe all brief and sideways dreaming
To be, as previous was the complaint,
Lint on time’s black coat, blanketing the west,
Becoming the unfathomable deathmask
Freckled with stars, rendering itself
As its other, as though to mirror la,
But not mirroring it, and therefore now
Mirroring it, all sumptuous unscripted
La, la mirroring la like the pricked prong
Of a tuning fork that, for all its song,
Between sensation and sensation is
Still nothing but air, a titan’s dying
Air, a titan’s dying air now again
A titan’s surging flame, an ancient flinch
In an ancient sun mirrored and made
Into la, the void in the voice, the voice
In the void, lala: aiai, song and pain,
Song and pain, song and pain, and there it is.

 

Rowan Ricardo Phillips is the author of The Ground, for which he received a Whiting Award, the PEN/Osterweil Award for Poetry, and the GLCA New Writers Award for Poetry, and was a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize. His next book, Heaven, will be published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in June 2015.

[Purchase your copy of Issue 09 here.]

The First Last Light in the Sky

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