Saul Bass, graphic designer

We use death because it contains
all life the way we use black

for all colors, & light.
&c. for all words & allegory

for meaning. Meaning for all
people is not the same. We take

people for individuals. An
individual for one. & one

because all numbers go on
their daily tasks

with it in their chests
like a rib, almost unaware

of it in their solitude.
Solitude for its tin-can

telephone that leads from
the mouth to the empty

ear. & emptiness
which holds nothing.

& nothing for the way it dances
without a partner

or rank toward oblivion
which takes

us in & yet does not
grow any larger. We don’t,

in the end, have to make
these figures whole.

A rule: See a hand,
assume a body;

see an eye, expect a
soul.

Emilia Phillips

EMILIA PHILLIPS is the author of Signaletics (University of Akron Press, 2013) and two chapbooks including Bestiary of Gall (Sundress Publications, 2013). Her poetry appears in AGNI, Beloit Poetry Journal, Green Mountains Review, Gulf Coast, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Indiana Review, The Journal, The Kenyon Review, Narrative, The Paris-American, Third Coast, and elsewhere. She’s the recipient of the 2012 Poetry Prize from The Journal, selected by G.C. Waldrep; 2nd Place in Narrative’s 2012 30 Below Contest; and fellowships from Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, U.S. Poets in Mexico, Vermont Studio Center, and Virginia Commonwealth University where she received her MFA in poetry in 2012. She serves as the prose editor for 32 Poems and has been appointed as the 2013–2014 Emerging Writer Lecturer at Gettysburg College.

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