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Two Poems

Two Twilights

Summer. And the sinking lights of summer.
And the sinking city lights of summer
Dancing down the long hips of the Hudson.

Dancing down the long hips of the Hudson.
Shrinking, enchanting with outrageous calm.
Until from just under, wood pikes peek out:

First like goose bumps, then like bones through skin.
Look down: MORTON STREET, carved into the ground.
And these stumps, tricked out with seagull scarecrows,

Still wait here for their ship: like that wet bruise
Lake Avernus still waits for Dante's soul,
Checking the reflection of every star

Trapped in its dim circles, and whispering
Per me si va ne la città dolente
To see if, from the memory, one flinches.


Spring was the hammer
That fell down on Stockholm.

Grounded, the gray shattered.
Gamla stan greened.

The faint sound of the bay Riddarfjärden
Rose and fell, rose and fell

Like a dog asleep on its back
As pinkish dreamed demonstrations of place

Picked up their pieces
To put them back together again.

This was not all of Sweden, of course.
But sea-shouldered, mirroring, to itself

It thought to be so.
Like a boat in the distance

That thinks you are the distance
And not itself. Not it.

For it is the center of everything.

Rowan Ricardo Phillips

The Ground
Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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