Christian Barter

The Phoenix

Being ash, being dust,

being what’s left on the plate,

being the bungalow with a moss-eaten roof

a stone’s throw off from the new glass house,


being bone and gristle,

being biomass,

being something stuck to the fridge floor

whiffing of a long-turned tide,

being shredded, un-sought secrets,

being car exhaust,

being half-buried rusted-out bedsprings

sleeping it off in the woods,


being what was washed from the photo by the years,

being what will never wash,

being what’s in the storm drain hurrying off,


the dust flaring up in the comet’s tail,

the toe-nail clippings feeling around under the rug,

the sticks laid out on the highway after a storm,

the pennies on the dashboard short of a dollar,

the hollow core of an old swamp cedar,

the crumpled butt of the sweetest cigarette

you ever had, I am


everywhere and I demand my wings.



The Phoenix first appeared in The Literary Review, Spring 2006.