Home > Poetry > The Glade
Published: Mon Apr 15 1991
Salman Toor, Fag Puddle with Candle, Shoe, and Flag (detail), 2022. Courtesy of the artist and Luhring Augustine, N.Y. Photo: Farzad Owrang.
The Glade

Here, complete with half-swallowed cry
of small game rising, stirring
the light, is that ease

with which a legend goes
languorously down on itself,

this is the air left behind, thick
with the whir of bees flagging, smell
of meadow that’s spent all its arrows,

where every dream is
of difficult breathing, of desire
as a finally grounded bird

whose limbs and blue-black wings
dangle from the dreamer’s mouth,
refusing to come loose…

where his body lay, gather up all
the broken-stemmed flowers;

photograph the water, that in
the wind repeatedly makes for shore
and misses—

these, for dark Narcissus
who, whatever else and more
he may have been,

was never ours.

See what's inside AGNI 33

Carl Phillips is the author of ten books of poetry. His most recent collection, Speak Low (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2010), was a National Book Award finalist. He is currently a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and the judge for The Yale Series of Younger Poets. (updated 6/2010)

Phillips’s book In the Blood was reviewed in AGNI 41 by Erin Belieu. Phillips’s book Cortège was reviewed in AGNI 44 by Kathy Fagan.

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