Gesture, Possibly Archaic

Gesture, Possibly Archaic

By Carl Phillips

(posted Wednesday, Nov. 11, 1998)

To hear the poet read “Gesture, Possibly Archaic,” click here.

Careful     confident     both, and

prone, the two of them, to
laughing, they got
into the boat.

One put his hands to the oars
there, and the boat

       The other, raising
against wind his collar,
freed unmeaningly a litter of thin

blossoms that could be
peach, or the little apple that–for
how slow it is, coming

sweet–is called
reluctance …

                       The blossoms spilled

first onto wind, then
onto the water behind the boat, and
for a while

the water flared
outside of a stillness it
would return to:

A boat meant nothing in that country;
the men won’t, either
one of them, be missed–