Incandescence is God.
We kneel, twin lakes reflecting God—
fireflies’ float and phantom light
like guides. Zephyr unpeels, water bends, bites
into. We bite into tight sequences, God’s
topography: us, clenched, spiraled gods.
Ambrosia sweats the grass dull. Erect pipes
of reeds, animal fur; home. Moon rocks ripe
on evening’s breath. We, wet, know God’s
age by stone skip ripple. Rings of gods
break from beneath. Body is open, black
and a mouth, consuming. Billowed back-
to-front and our soaked skin the stones of god,
skip hymns skip hymns this pulse of God.
The moth has veins in its wings and spots all around.
The moth has black eyes and sees with a coal song.
Its wingspan like opening dark. The dark is beaten.
The dark is beaten and the dust rains off.
And the dog has a cringing countenance and a tail
of bones like a tail of beads. He flattens the notes
he howls, the way the wind flattens the earth. The dog
has two tattered ears and, when he’s beaten, his ears
knot up like a heart of coal into the earth. Held.
And the ants work quiet as shame or
a man with an empty bed in his house. The ants’ breaths
are legion, are one, too subtle to count. They keep a seed
hard as diamond in their den, hide it like a weakness
but it will not stay put.
I am a woman and a feast of pairs: two kidneys, two
eyes that swell as wide as pears that drop
from their boughs in fist-tight selves. They drop
and their skin breaks open, and their light moves through.
Phillip B. Williams is a Chicago, Illinois native. Recently, he won BLOOM’S inaugural chapbook competition in poetry for his manuscript BRUISED GOSPELS. He is a Cave Canem graduate and received a Bread Loaf work-study scholarship in 2011 and Social staff scholarship in 2012. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Callaloo, The Southern Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, Sou’wester, and others. Phillip is currently poetry editor of the online journal Vinyl Poetry. From September 2010-June 2012, Phillip served as an HIV tester and CLEAR counselor for Chicago House and Social Services. While there, he had the opportunity to work with a diverse population living with HIV or at high risk of contracting the HIV. He is now an MFA candidate and Chancellor Fellow at Washington University in St. Louis.
photo by Darren Calhoun/Quick Click MediaBACK
A prayer for throat’s tapped honey, its gleaning.
For the body having been combed, occupied,
so that any nonattendance is unrecoverable.
Say walk across our own sharp ground by bridge,
which too is the flesh. One day there will be surfeit;
one day bone dam and its filament of marrow
pouring out, showing through to score skin blown
to sand. Is there a ravenous mien to dust
filling a floorboard’s rotten vein? It is nothing,
it is refuse, yet it congregates beneath wooden pews
till its inarticulate volume is acknowledged,
bowed to, swept upward. Such worship.
photo by Aaron R. WhiteBACK
photos by Rachel Eliza GriffithsBACK