What Myth Is by Carl Phillips

Not only what lasts, but what
applies over time also. So
maybe, for all my believing, not

you, on either count. Anymore
than this hand where it falls,
here, on your body; or than

your body itself, however good
sometimes at making—even now,
in sleep—a point carry. Not

this morning, either, that under
the heat has already begun
failing; nor, for all their pre-

Ice Age glamour—what is
mythical, at best, not myth—
these Japanese beetles that off

and on hit the window’s limp
screen, fall in, even. Who
make of the trees’ leaves a

thin lace the air, like memory,
languidly fingers. Whose wings,
like yours where sometimes I

see them, flash broad, green-
gold in the sun, to say bronze.
When they fold them, it’s hard

to believe they fly, ever.

To learn more about Carl Phillips, visit his page on the Poetry Foundation’s website by clicking here.

This poem comes from Carl Phillips’s book Quiver of Arrows (Selected Poems 1986-2006). Click here to purchase.

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This here is a Japanese beetle.

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