"Yet No Less Grateful" is one of two poems by Carl Phillips to be featured in The Southeast Review Vol. 36.2.
Yet No Less Grateful
Woke feeling like a minotaur: hot, torn,
not so much undecided as undecided upon, and badly:
what can I possibly do now about what I am, if I’m what I am?
Like mistaking death for what’s finally just proof of death—
the latest stubbornly unvanished body beside the road that the wide,
now sightless eye unstares across—
to rewrite what’s been given is not refusal is no one walking away.
Between trust and what trust equals, between that and everything
I say it does, why not do whatever?
They say the difficulty with nothing-but-light,
as with utter darkness, is not so much that we cannot see,
but that we’re stripped of context: we’re as near
as far; all the waves stand frozen. I can’t stop thinking of the future
as the past, imitating a god.
Carl Phillips's most recent book is Wild Is the Wind (FSG, 2018). He teaches at Washington University in St. Louis.