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Recorded as part of the Poem-a-Day series, October 28, 2015.
About this Poem 

“Proximity and indifference are the two sides of the murky coin that is city life. And whether it feels precious or cheap (may it always feel the former), life always holds itself up to the mind’s glare. Sometimes I want to look away, but I never look away.”
Rowan Ricardo Phillips

Death and the City

Yesterday’s newspaper becomes last week’s
Newspapers spread out like a hand-held fan
In front of the face of the apartment
Door. A dog does the Argos-thing inside,
Waiting beside O as though his body
Is but an Ithaca waiting the soul’s
Return. Neil the Super will soon come up
With the key but only in time to find
Doreen, the on-the-down-low-friend-with-perks,
There already, kneeling between the two,
Stroking the hair of both O and the dog,
Wondering who had been walking the dog.

Copyright © 2015 by Rowan Ricardo Phillips. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on October 28, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2015 by Rowan Ricardo Phillips. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on October 28, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets.

Rowan Ricardo Phillips

Rowan Ricardo Phillips

Born in New York City in 1974, Rowan Ricardo Phillips earned his BA at Swarthmore College and his PhD at Brown University.

He is the author of two books of poetry: Heaven (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2015), which was a longlist finalist for the National Book Award, and The Ground (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012), for which he received the 2013 Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers Award for Poetry and the PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award.

by this poet

poem

I won’t ever tell you how it ended.
But it ended. I was told not to act
Like it was some big dramatic moment.
She swiveled on her heels like she twirled just
The other day on a bar stool, the joy
Gone out of it now. Then she walked away.
I called out to her once. She slightly turned.

2
poem

The soul of swift-soled Achilles hearing me
Praise his son, silvered, and then was gone,
His long strides causing him to blend, light-bent,
Into the shining, maize meadow cloudbank						
Shadowed by that one solitary tree 
It takes sixteen years for light, let alone
A soul, to