Issue 18: Philip Byron Oakes
(Tom Raworth Memorial)

Reflection Pool

Testing waters frozen over under the radar. Come to drink of

it. Under the veneer of permission to breathe. A clause in the

prosecution of the hours. Prodding a shiver to unfold. As it's

written though rarely read to suit an ear for nuance. A parade

of particulates shoveled into proof of life as we know it.

Navigating the formalities, pocking the airscape with rigid

postures feigning bricks in the wall of quietude. Preserving

the element of surprise in a bubble designed to float ashore.

Catch the midnight train napping on the tracks. A balm easing

pilgrims into their skins for the journey. Keeping to a schedule

of submerge then surface then breathe, repeat. Tear by drop in

the bucket adding up to make a wave sure to inundate us all.

In big block letters spelling out an alphabet of reasons to

close your eyes and see. Feeding the scope's mastery of

distance over a field of bones broken to the routine. A story

looming in a mumble, shared to convey the sense of a respite's

shoulders bearing the weight of the forgotten, coaxing the

silhouettes out of character and into play. Slowing the

destination to a crawl. A wink sinking to the quick of the

equation balancing here on the now you know. Cleared for

lift off kilter. To recall a pattern thought lost to the blur.

Catching one's breath in the act of pushing the next into

traffic. Shaving into the marrow of moments arrayed like

pearls on a necklace. Laying groundwork at the feet taking

steps extended only beyond their means to confer.

Philip Byron Oakes is the author of three collections of poetry, the latest of which being ptyx and stone (white sky ebooks) 2013. A fourth has begun making the rounds.