Two Poems by Carl Phillips
More theatrically than I’d expected,
the trapped hummingbird won’t stop
beating the mason jar’s glass.
The staghorn sumac’s
tilts on the wind.
You are the knife,
and you are also what the knife
has opened, says the wind.
Each Like a Branch Thrown Slant Across
So there are things in the end—don’t—that,
like the restoration of order to a
shambled kingdom, shouldn’t last, or aren’t at
least supposed to . . . If briefly I’ve cast
the world, though, as a place you almost
believed in enough to stay—stay
inside of—I say it counts as magic: wind coming
shoreward, night coming down
all over again, lone atlas moth hanging, providing
color to its patch of shade, where it mates,
then dies, not so much victoriousness
as victory, even if a restless one, if I’ve
been restless, then the way a compass can be,
and still be true.