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 has work forthcoming in The Atlantic and Kenyon Review. Her newest book, Mr. Memory & Other Poems (Penguin Books, 2016), was a finalist for The Los Angeles Times Book Prize. She is the author of four other poetry collections, Temples and Fields (University of Georgia Press, 1988), The Afterimage (Copper Beech Press, 1995), Mercury (Penguin, 2001), and May Day (Penguin, 2008), and is the editor of The Penguin Book of the Sonnet: 500 Years of a Classic Tradition in English (2001). Her honors include the Poetry Society of America’s Norma Farber First Book Award, a Fulbright Scholar Award to Slovenia, the Amy Lowell Poetry Travelling Scholarship, and grants from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. She lives in New York and currently is a professor of English and the poet-in-residence at Hofstra University.