Stratum (Logic)

by Emilia Phillips

William F. Warren believed in Eden, in Eden
at the North Pole. No one believed William
F. Warren, but if he believed it, can we not
believe in his belief? Or do we go on to our screaming
kettles and the doorbell, in alligator sweaters,
through our stacks of books like Babel,
muttering, I don’t believe in William F. Warren?
Or does his life, and Eden too, pass our knowing
like a spider inhaled in sleep? Or mildew like a bale
target in a fogged field where no marksman
threads it through with arrows? But his logic
was sober: the last vastness known on earth
is the first, is frozen and uninhabitable like divine
knowledge, the moon’s backhand, the sting of hope.

EMILIA PHILLIPS is the author of Signaletics (University of Akron Press, 2013) and two chapbooks, including Bestiary of Gall (Sundress Publications, 2013). She has held fellowships from U.S. Poets in Mexico and Vermont Studio Center and has received the 2012 Poetry Prize from The Journal and Second Place in Narrative’s 2012 30 Below Contest. Her poetry appears in AGNIHayden’s Ferry ReviewThe Kenyon Review, and The Paris-American. She is an adjunct instructor of creative writing at Virginia Commonwealth University where she received her MFA in 2012