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Vol. 23, No. 4: Winter 2017

Crowd Crush

by Emilia Phillips

I need to start being honest
with my constituents—the mirror

and hemlock, the just barely parted
blinds and, behind them,

my naked body in its easy labors
of making

coffee and sighing heavily.
I dare someone to accidentally

glimpse my nude
pantomime of minding my own

business. Sometimes I’ve got to be angry to be in
the mood for being

angry. Some people would release
a sex tape

before their taxes. How do I
account for the bottom line

of my booty I have to look over
my shoulder to see

in the mirror? Or the clutch in my gut every
time I see his hands, strong

in their aching, flex absentmindedly when

writes something down? Every time I see
her bottom lip so swollen

that her lipstick prints upside-
down on her chin,

I want to take impressions
of the Times with silly putty,

the news suddenly

a truth I’d stretch—

if I could get away
with it without laughing.

Bounty Everlasting: Poetry from 25 Years of Southern Cultures

This poem is featured in Bounty Everlasting. Read all 25 for free.

Emilia Phillips is the author of three poetry collections, most recently Empty Clip (University of Akron Press, 2018). She is assistant professor of creative writing at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

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