Sometimes it’s
        bigger than my
              body, the body

that gave it
        life, that is
              its life—as if I’m

a frame for
       it, as if it
              continues beyond

my end, although no
        one, not here,
              can see where

it goes, how
        far, & now
              it finds

its way into
        every possible
              place I

imagine, even
        the past, which believes
              in my scar like

a prophecy, & like a god’s
        work, I have no
              memory of it breathing

into me &
        abstracting me
              to myth from which to

remake the world
        into the rising
              & falling

action of fiction—my body
        as denouement. Sometimes I feel
              it without waiting

for its hum on
        the nerves, its shivering
              arc from eye

to jawbone. How often
        I want to
              give it a voice so

it can tell
        me what I want
              it to say—that it knows

me like tomorrow
        does. That a need lives
              in lack’s because.


Copyright © 2015 by Emilia Phillips. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on September 10, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“I initially drafted this poem on a poster board instead of standard-size paper and found that the format insisted that I write about things that seem much larger than they are, that expand beyond their physical limits, like the scar that extends between my eye and jawline on my right cheek. Strangers and friends alike have suggested that I give it a new origin narrative: I was in a knife/sword fight, I smashed my head through a glass window, etc. In that way, it seems to have a life—imagined or not—beyond my own.”
Emilia Phillips