Back to Issue Five.

fable: [tongue will heal a wound if he licks it]

BY EMILIA PHILLIPS

 

How far the unknown transcends

the old dog in the metal
tub shivers

what we know

oatmeal for hotspots, oil
of cedar for fleas, little liver pills—
pain, the palatine
cleft by tumor     a thumb
against the jaw, & harder,
she opens, gags

one by one, & by the hand

she disappeared
in the underbrush    in death,
she rolled & took
on its stench

half willing, half reluctant

of each other
we know nothing,
of another—

I know none

to be led, & leave

the lather, & pouring over—
beneath my fingers her muscles
roll     through water,
she blinks, & rinses
black

Emilia Phillips received her BA at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and MFA at Virginia Commonwealth University where she was the Levis Fellow for the coordination of the Levis reading prize. She is an associate literary editor of Blackbird and a recipient of a fellowship from Vermont Studio Center. Her poetry has appeared in or is forthcoming from AGNI, Birmingham Poetry Review, Cerise Press, The Collagist, Colorado Review, Ecotone,Green Mountains Review, Gulf Coast, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Indiana Review, The Journal, The Kenyon Review, Sycamore Review, Third Coast, and elsewhere.