CHRISTOPHER PHELPS


Christopher Phelps studied physics and philosophy at MIT before falling in love with their
oldest common ancestor. His poems appear or are forthcoming in periodicals including The
Awl
, Field, The Kenyon Review, Meridian, The New Republic, and in the anthology Collective
Brightness: LGBTIQ Poets on Faith, Religion & Spirituality
. He lives and works in Venice, Florida.






Allogamy

I hunger for you hungry:

for the way you hunger for me
hungry:

for the confusion of the two

that isn't confusion, but
escalation, germination:

for feedback that feeds

just that directly indirectly:
for the taut ellipse of us

turning tighter circle.

I hunger for your lips meeting
mine inside, your need known

in a bed whose frame has broken

by trip by truck without shocks
or brakes, we seedlings

in loam alone with our faces

twice out of context.
I hunger for your wanderlust

you said I grew inside you

this need, our earth moving
just a few feet above it,

this time untenable as gods,

this migrant truck, our
luck to be persimmons.






Toward a Theory of Endurance

1
Neither vitalism
nor mechanism
nor easy mysticism
nor easier nihilism

Some pinnate leaves
out-climbing themselves

A cicada shrill

A factory break room
finally mandated


2
Our dead God keeps dying.
His gilding on altars and books
flaked and we ate the gold-leaf.

We knew this was tacky and stopped
and apologized and moved God
back in the basement

near our trophies.
He asked for a window.
We turned on the hose and

rejoined God with a little flood.
He laughed, as we hoped,
but then grew pallid

and frail and for days we worried
we'd given God pneumonia.
He said not to be absurd.

If you knew any French, you'd know
I'm just tired—my disease
is a tired mania.


3
A friend said, home is where I came from
and where I'm going.

I loved his definition,
how it doubled for death.


4
A sandhill crane standing on one foot
on a corner of a dock in a corner
of a lake in the rain, grayed:
a disheveled elegance.

Crane, Iíve heard it said you're lucky
to be absent of questions—
no god gave you God's—
and I've heard it said

that we're the flighty ones
who could learn from you
patience and persistence
not at odds. I look out again

to see who sooner (rain or crane) but
neither's lifted, neither's changed.



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