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July 30, 2018 / barton smock

person Phoebe Wagner, five sonnet sequence


Phoebe Wagner is a writer, editor, and PhD candidate living in the high desert. She can be found on Twitter @pheebs_w and at her website


note: The second sonnet below, “Shin Portrait of a Cat”, was previously published by Vine Leaves Literary Journal.


The Illustrated Woman

“They were windows looking in upon fiery reality.”
—Ray Bradbury

i. The Sleeve

The sun and thumbnail moon share the pale sky
with clouds thin as the epidermis. Black pines
spread down a mountainside cliff, the roots cooled
by vein-like rivers, rivulets pooling
above a meadow. Dots of wild flowers
freckle the tussocks while a young fox stirs
in the golden grass. The tree line shades bones
bleached scar-white, but the antler remains
rise like hands praising godly carnivores
who left the perfect sculpture, picked-over
by crows and beetles. And yet, beauty waits
in bareness, so skeletons illustrate
our mantels…

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