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Phillip B. Williams

Phillip B. Williams is the author of Thief in the Interior (Alice James Books, 2016), winner of the 2017 Kate Tufts Discovery Award and a Lambda Literary Award. He has received a Whiting Award and Ruth Lilly Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation. He currently teaches at Bennington College and lives in Bennington, Vermont.

By This Poet

2

Hunter

            When you were mine though not
mine at all permanently, just a body borrowed
without permission, a body interrupted,
interruptive—

                           the sky opened like a secret in a mouth

mouth with a word in it
   
word with an arrowhead in its flank: Love, small

creature it was

                                     crying in the night beneath me

And Now Upon My Head the Crown

1.
             In the first place—I wanted him and said so
when I had only meant to say. His eyes
opened beyond open as if such force would unlock me
to the other side where daylight gave reason
for him to redress.

                                          When he put on his shirt,
after I asked him to keep it off, to keep putting off
the night’s usual end, his face changed beneath
the shirt: surprise to grin, to how even the body
of another’s desire can be a cloak behind which
to change one’s power, to find it.

2.
                                                                 In the first place
he slept, he opened the tight heat of me that had been
the only haven he thought to give a name:

Is-it-mine? Why-you-running? Don’t-run-from-it—as though
through questions doubt would find its way away from me,
as though telling me what to do told me who I was.