—a poem by Adam Phillips

our entire lives you've worn your head

in wraps, leather masks, masks
sewn from other faces, rubber masks,
nylons, since we split at birth

I've always been the favored one,
you've always been alive, you used to live

with homemade dolls,
you always wear
a lot of clothes,
you only wanted to be loved.

you came out from the dark.

your skin was soft, and wet.

beneath the sun it scaled.
the children beat you.  that first time.

crying in the dust.  blood
pooling from your mouth. 

you scabbed and festered in a hole.
a thousand years passed.
your tears turned to mercury
and climbed into your brain.

you no longer wanted love.
you were lying.
your eyes had gone

they bounced in the dark.

you watched me sleep.  I've seen

you fly                           I've seen you

sleep in water
bathe in fire
clothed in insects
and fall and
torn in half,
crushed flat
turned to dust
to smoke
to wax

I'm left with the impression
nothing ever dies.
Even though I've seen

the gym bag full of tools.  The snot rag
full of ears.  Feet beneath
the underpass.  Floating hair.  I make
a funny story out of this.  Now

we can laugh
but I suspect it's you, your

fingers on the strings
that make the laugh
that move the hands 

and wipe them on the jeans.

Adam Phillips currently lives in Boise, where he makes a living teaching and coaching junior high kids. As a result of this, his maturity has been grossly eroded. Over the next month, you can see more of his writing at Oddville Press, Blue Monday Review, Scarborough Fair, Dark Dossier, Blotterature, Clockwise Cat, and Eunoia. His first novel, Something Like My Name will be published by Caliburn Press this summer. He profusely thanks you for reading his poem.