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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