about the author

Phoebe Reeves earned her MFA at Sarah Lawrence College, and now teaches English at the University of Cincinnati’s Clermont College in rural southern Ohio, where she advises East Fork: An Online Journal of the Arts. Her chapbook The Lobes and Petals of the Inanimate was published by Pecan Grove Press in 2009. Her poems have recently appeared in The Gettysburg Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Drunken Boat, Phoebe, and Radar Poetry.

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Two Poems 

Phoebe Reeves

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Noesis                                                                                     noʊ’i SIS

Noctiluca, moon lantern—the ocean is full of their lights.
          How it knows itself, ego and nonego, the salt
                    and water and oxygen

          weaving into tides and deep night glows,
tiny flagellates wriggling their flashes
          in a pure nocturne of nonchalance.

                    They move in the millions, borne,
          for now, in the sea that once saw
great ships hold the no-fire line until all the flags

          nodded. What nonsense people murmur
                    over the ocean, imagining nymphs,
          tridents, nonstop enmity emerging from

a no-man’s-land of coral castles, the nomad
          in the desert no more alone than the boat in the node
                    between waves. Becalmed, all noise lost on the dark

          surface, the light of the noctiluca a noncommittal
display, waning and reemerging like its
          namesake. Do they, in their salty cells,

                    seek an audience? Do they wait for whales,
          sailors, mermaids, to sing? Who among them nominates
                    herself to speak for the sea?

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Over and Out                                                               ’oʊ vər ænd aʊt

The hermit thrush rules the waning hour with his vocal purchase
in the air—to whit,
an overdub upon the forest’s formerly outstretched silence,

overcome with appetite,
pollen, the sun’s final maneuvers before light moves out of bounds.
The bird repeats

his phrase. His watch arm ticks past heaven and his eyes go out.
His throat goes
quiet. He can’t outrun the sun but he can stand still until it reappears,
       first the pale

outriders of dawn,
then the full blossom of day. It is the dark where he waits that makes him,
outlining him in his

noiseless night perch, the mossy nest on the ground, the feathers
colored like mulch
and leaf mould, all motionless and overdressed in want of singing.

We hold our minds
motionless to match him, wherever we are. He outlasts us in the song and
in the silences.

In his four fluid notes and in their absence, he outlasts us all.
Over all
the earth, his minuscule heart measures our overcrowded own.

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