Blue

By Carl Phillips

As through marble or the lining of   

certain fish split open and scooped   

clean, this is the blue vein

that rides, where the flesh is even   

whiter than the rest of her, the splayed   

thighs mother forgets, busy struggling   

for command over bones: her own,   

those of the chaise longue, all

equally uncooperative, and there’s   

the wind, too. This is her hair, gone   

from white to blue in the air.

This is the black, shot with blue, of my dark   

daddy’s knuckles, that do not change, ever.   

Which is to say they are no more pale   

in anger than at rest, or when, as

I imagine them now, they follow

the same two fingers he has always used   

to make the rim of every empty blue

glass in the house sing.

Always, the same

blue-to-black sorrow

no black surface can entirely hide.

Under the night, somewhere

between the white that is nothing so much as   

blue, and the black that is, finally; nothing,   

I am the man neither of you remembers.   

Shielding, in the half-dark,

the blue eyes I sometimes forget

I don’t have. Pulling my own stoop-

shouldered kind of blues across paper.   

Apparently misinformed about the rumored   

stuff of dreams: everywhere I inquired,   

I was told look for blue.

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