Patrick Phillips

Tim Mullinax and I

were setting army men on fire,


lobbing safety matches

at a whole platoon


waist-deep in kerosene,

when the purple flames


leapt up his arm

and around his throat


and coiled in his hair

where, looking up,


I saw things clearly 

for the first time in my life:


the perfect sky

still perfect as he burned.  

Found In Volume 37, No. 03
Read Issue
  • patrickphillips
Patrick Phillips
About the Author

Patrick Phillips is the author of Elegy for a Broken Machine  (Alfred A. Knopf, 2015). A recent Guggenheim and National Endowment for the Arts fellow in poetry, he is the author of two earlier collections, Boy and Chattahoochee, and translator of When We Leave Each Other: Selected Poems of Henrik Nordbrandt