Almost Tenderly by Carl Phillips | Poem No. 16 (NPM2017)

Almost Tenderly


Almost Tenderly

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.

You can get Carl Phillips Poetry books on Amazon and Book Depository.

Almost Tenderly


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