In Sweeter Times Have Seen You

— Carl Phillips

Any story of pain, versus
calling it history, as if by
imagining pain becoming
less than pain—because
farther away—we could
make it true. What I was,

versus what it’s come to.
And the tug-of-war between
erasing that distance and
living out what’s left of this life

staring back, across it.
Or else walking away.

The kind of clouds
where you can tell there’s
water near. The meadow
the moonlight made,

upon the water. Not so
much the dog, that was
already dead by then, but
the delicacy with which

—as if with fear, still—
their hands un-muzzled it,
to set the dead more free.


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