Friday, May 17, 2019

Swear-to-God by Carl Phillips


So much for the fanfare others call disaster. Sure,
a sameness, if not to the fruit, then to the flowers—little urns, white, wax-like—
that come first. Some confusion was understandable. Courage
can look like abandon. Can’t it? The abandon that nerve
alone powers isn’t exactly the more common despair-powered kind, now

is it? Broken gull. Broken egret. Broken gull. So much for the shore.
Not unsexual. What I admired most: that each error had been
a clean one. No moral charge to it. There were forces to blame, real ones,
should one wish to do so: the wind, erratic; a snow of storms. I for one
did not. Do I look like I was raised to make mistakes? I do not, I wasn’t,

I don’t regret them. As for history—quail scattering up into their characteristically
reluctant-seeming version of flight, versus what they stood for,
versus what they seemed to—I’ve had my thrill. The throat exposed—
this time, at my having said so. Cut it open. This time, nobody’s going anywhere.

No one gets hurt.

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