Two poems by Shannon Phillips

Her heart is a bird trapped in her chest

She releases the bird because holding onto it isn’t right.
The time to tell the truth is now. Don’t look over there.
Looking within is the right way to find out why someone
must find a way out. Someone could return there and grip
her, choking out an ache from a can’t-do-without wound,
a wound that speaks in song, a wound begging the tongue
to heal its exact hurt, the loss of whose shape aches to the tune
of her eyes as she lets go of your bird-heart beating out words.

Dearly Beloved

He feeds her raspberries
dipped in cream.
His tongue, precise
as a diamond, traces
triangles until he
deciphers the code,
allowing him to enter her
purple mood.

Her permission, more
precious than pearls,
than doves’ tears, reflects
in her eyes, and wearing
a strand of dreams, her mind
fills with warm rain and sky.


Shannon Phillips is an aspiring translator who earned her MFA in creative writing from California State University, Long Beach. Body Parts, her most recent chapbook, was published by dancing girl press in 2017. She is also the founding editor of Picture Show Press and she recently received the 28th Moon Prize from Writing In A Woman’s Voice.

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