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           after Carl Phillips

The difference
between To Be Comfortable
and To Be

he has pulled back
the covers, called her;

he has stripped off his robe,
climbed in.

She does what she doesó
presumes to be a clementine,
easy to peel, that
soon the crate,

netted, must deliver
to someone.

Is this how it will continue?
Is ease entitlement's
best reward? Is there

no withholding
what exposes itself?

At which time
she came
as if her will was his,

his will was
Spanish moss she'd pulled down
months ago and stuffed,
dry, cured,

in the summer mattress.

Rest well, she told him. Only he
wasn't tired;
he asked, How was your day?

A new girl
came this morning
, she said,
but we won't be keeping her.

She tried her best, I imagine,

but I had to
clean up behind.

Camille T. Dungy

Smith Blue
Southern Illinois University Press

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