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Over the hillside

They marched over the hillside
like a goddamn legion of ants
hellbent on claiming discarded bread

as theirs. Once inside the church,
they pretended they never
waged war, fatted on the spoils.

Circus nights

The chairs wear clown shoes
on cold nights at the circus

while DJs turn tables under
big tents and singing stars.

Children play puerile games
on top of discarded peanut shells

while elephants enthusiastically echo
long-forgotten songs we played

once like trapeze artists
thoughtlessly turning head

over heels without a net. I had never
flipped so carelessly until you

tamed the roaring lion now
nipping at your blue-nailed toes.

A familiar scene

Somewhere light plays piano in the background
of that scene, the one that so often
repeats itself.  You know the one
I mean — it starts with the sun embarking
on its customary routine, dancing to a slow tune

through the sky. We feel emboldened to move
with mirrored steps at the rhythm
we choose, back and forth, as
time arcs above us in brilliant currents
of arrows sharpened by the blitzing wind

only to fall below the horizon. And still the familiar
scene continues into the dark as we
share a stage emblazoned
in the afterglow of another imperfect day
made idyllic by blissful notes we always hit as one.

Private circles

You’re always cold, rosy cheeks trying
to escape another freeze or, like
a mermaid on shaky ground, limping
to your hiding place behind boxes of fate.

Fortune moves at a constant speed
regardless of temperature, though we may
feel warmer when a clock’s hands
share space with ours inside wool gloves.

As you shiver from that chill brought on
by anxiety or mysteries of the universe
too considerable to convincingly consider,
I’ll swivel you (wearing plaid designs

on our future together) around in my warm
embrace, reddening from a warmth born
of spinning hands keeping perfect time
as we retreat to privacy — finding our own tempo.

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About Me

Phillip Knight Scott is a native of Durham, North Carolina, where he lives, writes, and watches old episodes of Doctor Who. He’s only recently published his first collection of poems: Paint the Living, Plant the Dead. His poems have appeared in numerous publications including Galway Review, Vita Brevis Press, Olive Skin, Spillwords, and others.

His debut novel, The Alien in the Backseat, is available on Amazon.

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