The Need for Dreaming; The Heat of the Sun

Carl Phillips

The Need for Dreaming

As a scar commemorates what happened,
so is memory itself but a scar. As in: Given
hunger, which is endless only until it isn’t, he
destroyed what he could.
And then?—

So the lover enters the beloved—enters,
and withdraws; so a yellow-crested
night heron wades into view, then out:
useless? It gets harder to say. Like
signs of struggle in a field where nothing
stirs, the past can seem everywhere. I think
to be useless doesn’t have to mean
not somehow mattering. Years now, and

still I can’t stop collecting the strewn shells
of spent ammunition where I come across them;
carefully, I hold each up toward what’s left of the light.

The Heat of the Sun

Calming the bell was nothing easy. Nor did
the calmness, after, make the air surrounding it—
though at first it had seemed to—any more
still,
        or clear. The usual clouds building up
into shapes I almost recognized, and then
letting go of them. Customs like the breaking
in two of willow branches, which maybe still
stands for parting, somewhere. Maybe the mistake
of hoping
              never to make mistakes is the only
pattern we get to leave behind us: no bells—just
a calmness, after; the air so clear, we forget what
hurt so much and, in forgetting it, think it’s disappeared.

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