Poetry: Philip Arnold

Read More: A brief interview with Philip Arnold

I, Vulture       

“There will always be a remnant.” – St. Paul

I rest my forehead against
your forehead. Our touch
is nothing more
or less than a silence
we have always kept.

Curled under, hunger
has no taste in the repetition
of the tree-lined
coyotes’ stare: their back and forth
a meditation on possession.

Oh, this huddle of ravens
in the high grass.
I will tighten their bridle.

The hiss of morning’s aftermath
lifts the wind, unstitches
this field’s seam of slouching light,
leaf by leaf.

Midday mounts the shadows
as the cold abandons us.

The hour relents
as your lightness I bear, votary of seeds cast down
into chronic dark.

untitled

The Natural History of a Blade

Blade. Middle English, from Old English blæd; akin to Old High German blat leaf, Old English blōwan to blossom.

The fallen branches are wintered through,
a solitude in the slurred light of snow.

My axe undercuts the cold.
Light seeps into the severed air:

shadows fall loose from the trees, drift
from one stillness to another.

/

Through the cold half days I roam.
The wind rests on the ground, the forest
is trying to breathe.

In the gasp-of-air quick
eclipse of my blade
the black locust unlocks its rings.

/

The scored sapwood opens the mouth
of the forest: petals unstitch

from a dream of thirst, a throat as wide
as the mid-winter sky.

/

The morning-early equilibrium of shadow beyond light,
light before shadow, […]


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untitled

Old Machine

Light retracts
through the open door.

Shadows exhale

a work shelf, roost,
or last known place.

A squirrel, thatched-in, peers down.

Grease patinas the sludged cog:

a retrospect
of jittery current

in the scrap pile’s length and breadth.

Between each measurement […]


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___________________________________

Philip Arnold’s poetry has appeared in The Iowa Review, Rattle, Midwest Quarterly, Sou’wester, Southern Poetry Review and abroad in The Galway Review, The New Shetlander, Northwords and Corbel Stone Press. Lone Willow Press published his chapbook, The Border Life. He is the recipient of a 2016 Individual Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council.

Read More: A brief interview with Philip Arnold