Phillis Levin

June 12, 2014 Levin Phillis



Because it hangs from the center of the sky,

I play there sometimes, too, far away

From you, forgetting to return

Until my own fluttering breath unsettles me


More than the spaces pulsing between stars.

For years I rose in dreams beyond

Earth’s atmosphere: each night,

As I left the mother ship to bob along


The surface of the moon, the cord

Snapped and I drifted away, pulled into

An orbit from which I couldn’t break free.


My hands reach up to grab the yoke:

It stretches down, arms glittering,

A few crumbs of creation following.

Phillis Levin is the author of five poetry collections, most recently Mr. Memory & Other Poems (Penguin Books, 2016), a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize; her other collections are May Day (Penguin, 2008), Mercury (Penguin, 2001), The Afterimage (Copper Beech Press, 1995), and Temples and Fields (University of Georgia Press, 1988). She is the editor of The Penguin Book of the Sonnet (2001). Her honors include the Amy Lowell Poetry Travelling Scholarship, a Fulbright Scholar Award to Slovenia, the Poetry Society of America’s Norma Farber First Book Award, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Ingram Merrill Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Her work has appeared in The Atlantic, The Best American Poetry, Kenyon Review, The Nation, The New Republic, The New Yorker, Paris Review, Poetry, Poetry London, The Yale Review, and elsewhere. She lives in New York.