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Patrick Phillips


Patrick Phillips is an American poet, professor, and translator. His most recent poetry collection, Elegy for a Broken Machine (Alfred A. Knopf, 2015), has been nominated for the National Book Award for Poetry. His poems have appeared in many magazines, including Poetry, PloughsharesThe American Poetry ReviewHarvard ReviewDoubleTakeNew England Review, and Virginia Quarterly Review, and have been featured on Garrison Keillor’s show The Writer’s Almanac on National Public Radio. He has been a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Copenhagen, and teaches writing and literature at Drew University. Patrick Phillips grew up in Gainesville, Georgia, and now lives in New York City.

This is a plain poem. A plain poem that tells a simple story and made me feel simply sad. I like simple poems that you don’t have to try to figure out what the heck it means. They’re the best kind of poetry…

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After the biopsy,
after the bonescan,
after the consult and the crying,

for a few hours no one could find them,
not even my sister,
because it turns out

they’d gone to the movies.
Something tragic was playing,
something epic,

and so they went to the comedy
with their popcorn
and their cokes—

the old wife whispering everything twice,
the old husband
cupping a palm to his ear,

as the late sun lit up an orchard
behind the strip mall,
and they sat in the dark holding hands.



Picture Credits:
Patrick Phillips — artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com
Movie treats — mywaronfat.com