by Carl Phillips
It had the heft of old armor – like a breastplate
of bronze; like a shield, on hinges. It swung apart
like a door. Inside it, the sea was visible – the sea and, on the shore, a man: stripped; beaten. Very
gently – tenderly, almost – as if to the man, to
calm him, but in fact to no one, the sea was singing,
Here, in the deepening blue of our corruption, let
love be at least once corruption we chose together.
But the man said nothing. Why not call restlessness
our crown, and our dominion, sang the sea … But
the man was a brokenness like any other moving,
until it fails to move – the way, over time, suffering
makes no difference. His wounds were fresh; still open.
Where the light fell on them, they flashed, like the sea.