By Carl Phillips
Other than that, all was still — a quiet
so quiet that, as if silence were a kind of spell, and
words the way to break it, they began speaking.
They spoke of many things:
sunset as a raft leaving the water in braids behind it;
detachment, the soul, obedience;
swans rowing at nightfall across a sky filled with snow;
what did they wish they could see, that they used to see;
to mean no harm, or to not especially, just now, be looking for it;
what would they wish not to see, could they stop seeing;
courage mattering so much less than not spooking easily —
maybe all nerve is; the search-and-rescue map wildflowers
make of a field in summer; deserving it, versus asking for it,
versus having asked, and been softly turned from.
They said it would hurt, and it does.