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a valediction :: patrick phillips

by on October 12, 2015

I watched you snap a rabbit’s spine
while stroking it and cooing.

I heard a shot from the hill you climbed
with a gray-faced dog I loved.

And when I winged a sparrow perching
on a sway-backed power line

you laid your thick hand to its skull
and made the shrieking air stand still.

Did you mean that there’s no heaven
on earth but dignity? Did you mean

we too will pray some day for mercy?
All I can do is guess now what you

never said but meant. And pretend
somehow you hear this as you rise,

like when I watched the stillness then,
whispering Wake up. Fly.

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From → poems

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