Back to Issue Five.

fable: [tongue will heal a wound if he licks it]



How far the unknown transcends

    the old dog in the metal
    tub shivers

what we know

    oatmeal for hotspots, oil
    of cedar for fleas, little liver pills—
    pain, the palatine 
    cleft by tumor     a thumb 
    against the jaw, & harder,
    she opens, gags

one by one, & by the hand

    she disappeared
    in the underbrush    in death,
    she rolled & took
    on its stench

half willing, half reluctant

    of each other     
    we know nothing, 
    of another—
    I know none

to be led, & leave

    the lather, & pouring over—
    beneath my fingers her muscles
    roll     through water,
    she blinks, & rinses 



Emilia Phillips received her BA at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and MFA at Virginia Commonwealth University where she was the Levis Fellow for the coordination of the Levis reading prize. She is an associate literary editor of Blackbird and a recipient of a fellowship from Vermont Studio Center. Her poetry has appeared in or is forthcoming from AGNI, Birmingham Poetry Review, Cerise Press, The Collagist, Colorado Review, Ecotone,Green Mountains Review, Gulf Coast, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Indiana Review, The Journal, The Kenyon Review, Sycamore Review, Third Coast, and elsewhere.