If a Wilderness
Then spring came: branches-in-a-wind. . . I bought a harness, I bought a bridle. I wagered on God in a kind stranger— kind at first; strange, then less so— and I was right. The difference between God and luck is that luck, when it leaves, does not go far: the idea is to believe you could almost touch it. . . . Now he's singing, cadence of a rough sea—A way of crossing a dark so unspecific, it seems everywhere: isn't that what singing, once, was for? I lay the harness across my lap, the bridle beside me for the sweat—the color and smell of it—that I couldn't, by now, lift the leather free of, even if I wanted to. I don't want to.
Reprinted from Quiver of Arrows: Selected Poems, 1986-2006 © 2007 by Carl Phillips, by permission of Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Learn more about FSG poets at fsgpoetry.com.
Born on July 23, 1959, Carl Phillips's collection The Rest of Love won the Theodore Roethke Memorial Foundation Poetry Prize and the Thom Gunn Award for Gay Male Poetry.
Date Published: 2007-01-01
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/if-wilderness