Anna Lena Phillips

Endearment

 

Mob a tomb.

Board a tram.

Drama! Brat,

be a moat.

Be beat.

Data—toad,

bream, bat—

abate. Bard

ear, atom

beard, be

bared. Be

a dear abode,

dreamboat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Endearment

 

Set, stare.

Sweater weather.

Treat the wart—

tar thewes,

tart stew.

He a hare,

she aster.

Saw, hew,

sweat, thaw.

Water? Tea?

The sea her tether,

her star. Steer.

We swat the ether.

What are we,

sweetheart?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dry Season on the Deccan Plateau

         

 

On a day so hot that we were all indoors

The little dog, dying, could not die

The neem leaves shaking in a scant breeze

He shivered sideways and he rolled his eyes

 

The little dog, dying, could not die

He ground grey dust into his patchy coat

He shivered sideways and he rolled his eyes

Everything went pale in silent heat

 

He ground grey dust into his patchy coat

At last she went for the shovel, and I for a sack

Everything went pale in silent heat

She brought the shovel down against his back

 

She went out for the shovel, and I for a sack

Pink mimosa flowers fell to the dirt

She brought the shovel down against his back

The sweat dried before it could soak my shirt

 

Pink mimosa flowers fell to the dirt

We dug a hole and covered him over with stones

The sweat dried before it could soak my shirt

Back in the shade, I rinsed dust from my hands

 

We dug a hole and covered him over with stones

The neem leaves shaking in a scant breeze

Back in the shade, I rinsed dust from my hands

On a day so hot that we were all indoors

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Holographic Prayer Cards

from the gift shop at the Madonna Queen National Shrine, Orient Heights, Mass.

 

 

1.

Mary in blue looks gently down

but a shift of card betrays

her red heart flashing, circled in thorns.

If she sees it, she won’t say.

 

2.

Jesus embraces a weeping man.

His lovely head must turn

back and forth, Now, now, my son,

in comical concern.

 

3.

Two ragged kids with serious eyes

stand for a photograph.

A subtle flash—a saint appears

but cannot make them laugh.

 

4.

The Virgin, thirty feet tall, presides

over Orient Heights—

but look again, and she subsides.

What's left is winter light.

 

5.

Mary and Jesus, one then one,

as if the difference

between the mother and the son

were thin as card, or chance.

 

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