Phillis Levin

How It Is
November 22, 2019 Levin Phillis

How It Is

Say how it is
How easy
Too easy to say
How it is
Is not how it is
It keeps changing
Before it becomes
A was already it is
Altogether else
Say nothing it may
Stay still
How to say nothing
And say how it is
A bubble on a lake
Breaks in the dark
A streetlight goes on
Somewhere else an
Elastic band snaps
It burns a moment
To say how it is (say
How it is) to touch
The quivering
Hand of chance.

Phillis Levin has poems forthcoming in Kenyon Review, The New Yorker, and Plume Poetry 8. Her newest collection, Mr. Memory & Other Poems (Penguin Books, 2016), was a finalist for The Los Angeles Times Book Prize. She is the author of four other collections and the editor of The Penguin Book of the Sonnet: 500 Years of a Classic Tradition in English. She lives in New York and teaches at Hofstra University.