Xandria Phillips


The First Woman


I loved in the country

            was made of river
            logged cigarettes butts

and her eyes

            were flannel
            and her hands

were pitchforks

            and her tongue
            a jumbo blue

raspberry popsicle

            the first woman
            loved me back

in her way

            in her mouth
            shaped boat

was where we

            railed against
            departure

that good

            keeping me
            saccharine

my hand

            an invasive species
            summoned

drawn to inlet

            the stars didn't wince
            didn't cry out

an ecstatic dirge

            that was the river
            bucking migration

and the country

            being uprooted
            from the back

of my throat




Xandria Phillips is the author of Reasons For Smoking, which won the 2016 Seattle Review chapbook contest judged by Claudia Rankine. Her poetry has appeared in Beloit Poetry Journal, Callaloo, The Journal, Gigantic Sequins, Nashville Review, Nepantla, Ninth Letter Online, The Offing, West Branch, and elsewhere.




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