Leigh Phillips

You are what I had instead of loss. Now on to the breathtaking new. Watching my mother’s ghost pass through my fingers is how I learned fingers. And so on. I’m sad now. Let’s pass it through. The new. When you entered the bus, a lake knew how to leak. You’d pass through air until violet moves to aria. Your eyes, a light called forest. Love, I’ll lead forever. Listen to what moves. A field in France is lit on fire by a field. Aria spins the stomach. You set the needle. Sang my throat to a gramophone. Lift the music off the chest of death. I wear her breath and breasts. My mother started this world a shotgun loaded with bullets of blackbirds. Someone cut the telephone lines and quiet flew and flew. Her slow dance from cane to walker to wheelchair was not slow. Like snow, I am dizzy with it. A performance someone had to applaud. The hands of a four year old make a quiet shop of music. A hospital bed blooms around the abandoned factory of arms and legs. I’m lost inside each room, calling down the dank hall of bone. I’ve found my own hello and echo is beautiful. An only child curls around a mother’s hand that cannot curl. There is practically a sunset through the skin. I almost know what light is. You want to know what’s incomplete. I spend my time thinking about what the rest of you feel. You are a lake you are so lovely. Press me up against July into July. Like this. Right here. There is where the meat of me breaks to a New York City that knows how to levitate. Love knows exactly where sadness ends and aria begins. Be a boat. Gather me like I’m lost to the winter of you. My explosions are not explosions. I know how to do this more than loss knows what to do with rain. I’m trying to tell you that I believe in a good cathedral. It feels like there’s a presence here. You’re right there. It’s you.
Leigh Phillips is an Assistant Professor of English at Hostos Community College with the City University of New York. Her work has appeared in Rhino, So to Speak: A Feminist Journal of Language and Art, and A Face to Meet the Faces: An Anthology of Contemporary Persona Poetry, edited by Stacey Lynn Brown and Oliver de la Paz. She is currently writing an epistolary novel in verse, Leaving Flagstaff, a project generously funded by a grant from the City University of New York Research Foundation.