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12:10:07 – 01:21:10.jpeg

12/10/07 – 01/21/10 by Adam Phillips

upon your birth I wrote

a song


about blood,


letting of,

tasting of,

and a man writing


in cursive in blood


flung from his fingernails


planting the remnants


of torn hearts in black loam

to grow a forest

where we'll stand, listening


to wind in the leaves like the hissing of a sea shell –


They had come for you.

The dead men.

In the song.


not a good day to be born.

it had started


as one,


but rain moved in.  voices

clapped in a concrete stairwell.  I sat made


of paper, waiting


to be called

to a slaughter. 


Your brother was never like this.  you

and your brother are the


same one.  Upon your birth I drew a picture

of men emptied

like gutted scarecrows. 


They had come for you.  or maybe                                                                                                          

your brother.  upon your birth I carved


a gun from soap.  you choked,

I stuck my fingers down your throat. 


Upon your birth I chopped down every tree.

Poured poison

into the river.  we moved upstream.  I moved


the blanket from your mouth. 


The day of your birth

I took the center


of the road, I burnt the cars, I killed

the dogs, I slapped the kids, I got

it over with.  the day of your birth I heard nothing but machines.


a single cloud, heartshaped, crossed the january sky–

your brother and I

can make nothing out of this. 


for seven months we watched your breath, you wouldn't

die.  I wished you were a demon. 


the day of your birth we listened

to a train, the same


that killed your second cousin's father. 

we listened to the wolves.  I felt your face


eating through from behind mine.  I will write this until you die.  more so


than your brother.  I'm not finished.  the day of your birth


we collected worms, brought

them home to live.  we'd read they foster


life.  you

cannot read.  we knew nothing

of your brother.  I felt him

at night. 


The day you were born

I built a house from razor wire.  we learned to bleed.  I taught you


falling.  I taught

you not to kill.  Not                                                                                                                                  


what I taught your brother.  the day of your birth it rained.  I'd left

you uncovered. 

Adam Phillips

Adam Philips is a teacher and coach in Boise, Idaho. If people are interested in reading something else he has written, his first novel, "Something Like My Name," was very recently published by Propertius Press.

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