frog song. & two short ones, by Adam Phillips

wormwood dropped to earth and cracked and bled.
like the sidewalk, and the suicidal head
rolling limp
from the river, basking on the banks, steaming bodies shook
water from their ears

come my children, said the rain that night.
a guy
drank a glass of water,
and died.

blood rained upon the earth.
a rider slashed the clouds
bats attended every birth
everyone wore tokens on his eyes

everyone wore resin in her skull.
everyone wore orange rinds in his mouth
everyone wore tacks
and wires
in her mouth

groping one another's faces in the dark,
we crawled upon the earth
a ceaseless search for teeth,
for eyes

raining blood in the dark.
you could hear the earth's guts churn
we walked the highway
large things hissed by,
sketched in the dark by the pattering rain

you walked with your hands
on the shoulders of the man ahead. you felt
for softspots on your head. death became
the new birth. you grew accustomed to
it. you grew accustomed to the tap
of wings against your lips.
you grew accustomed to the I.V. drip.

we climbed a snarl of semitrucks,
a crumbled overpass,
a whale,
a squid,
it's what we did.

a hot wind flayed our faces. several times
we called the night eternal

Then a new star appears.
No one knows its name.
Nowhere is it written.
No one even knows.
The light returns.
Blood stands stagnant on the ground.
The earth shudders, growing wings.
But the wings of what?
Many things
have wings.

Proclamations, dripping from the dark and the stars,
three-dimensional tri-color assertions of “The World's Biggest
Asshole,” and “Now the voice
of Jesus will demolish some glass.”
To catch the assignment you've been hoping for.
And glide beyond the frame.
While others wait for the cleansing rain,
or look out
for the odd cow
struck dead by the hail stone.

My grandmother scowled, pulling the plate of eggs just beyond my reach.
Look at you, she said, thirty-eight years old, no job, and still
in your pajamas at noon.
They're not pajamas, I said.
It's a cowboy suit.

Adam Phillips makes his living teaching at-risk junior high kids how to read, write, and dominate on the hardwood (these are three separate things; the kids rarely read or write while playing basketball). When not thusly occupied, he's f**king s**t up old school on the coastline of Rockaway Beach, Oregon, with his inimitable wife and two small sons. If you're interested, recent/impending publications include upstreet, Blotterature, Shark Pack Poetry Review, Raven Chronicles, and Blue Monday Review. His first novel is forthcoming from Propertius Press.