Philip Wexler: “The Phoenix”

The Phoenix

Bit by heavenly bit,
I overcome the rules

of flight and gravity
and life and death.

I plunge from dizzy
heights, alone

unknown,
dependent on

my memories,
off-kilter, lax,

no context
to the flames.

I do not aim to be
askew or split

myself apart from all
I care to join, but why

resist? Nor do I try
to be myself,

too little known,
dependent on old

magic. What happens
is what’s born

and comes to pass
and passes on.

An inkling
isn’t certainty.

I can’t endure
through ages on a whim.

I find myself
wrapped in the time

and place I’ve lost
a hundred times

before, am ashen
from the fear

I will be too
used up by hopeless

wandering to ever
reach the point,

and then I see
an end. The phoenix

does not choose to be
consumed, and dreads

each death as if
there were no rising.

 

Philip Wexler lives in Bethesda, MD. He recently retired from the U.S. National Library of Medicine. He has had over 150 of his poems published in magazines over the years. He also organizes a free monthly spoken word series, Words out Loud, at Glen Echo Park in Glen Echo, Maryland.

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