Poetry by Philip Schaefer: “Radial Glow”

In the America of my fist
the rats drew blood.

You let them. You soaked me
with hydrogen saying don’t
wince, become.

I am still not your motherfucker.
The coal train gliding by in the mirror
of your eyes is lost in 2 directions.

This is my mouth on drugs: grab
a shovel and dig. Say something
cruel and watch it dissolve.

The worst things we did to ourselves
we did to everyone. Some birds
erase the sky, some our names.

You remember the animals, wild
and alone. You gave them clothes.
If I could return as a torn-out page
of a hymnal this is how I’d read:

there are machines that navigate
through oil like water.

He was always a thing for fire.




Philip Schaefers collection Bad Summon (University of Utah Press, 2017) won the Agha Shahid Ali Poetry Prize, while individual poems have won contests published by The Puritan, Meridian and Passages North. His work has been featured on Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, and in the Poetry Society of America. He’s gearing to open a tequila bar in Missoula, Montana.

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