Phillip Sterling

Words Frequently Confused:  Acclimate, Acculturate

Each spring the weight of leaves
hangs negligible, airy portent

for the thin timorous trees
that speak a language its taken

so long to learn
grace would not redeem its loss.

Say emoji, and you’ll hear
what I mean:  each syllable

its own articulate tool, each
with a singular design,

similar to the way
there are saws for pruning and

saws for the precise amputation
of soldiers’ bones. Given

the choice, who would not prefer
a more subtle touch:

gauzy fog the bats will ignore
or rain so fine the last white oak

in the meadow hardly trembles,
if only in a figurative sense.

Phillip Sterling’s books include two poetry collections (And Then Snow, Mutual Shores), two collections of short fiction (In Which Brief Stories Are Told, Amateur Husbandry), and four chapbook-length series of poems. A fifth series, Short on Days, will be released from Main Street Rag in Spring 2020. New poems have appeared recently in 2River ViewDunes ReviewWalloon Writers Review, and Poet Lore.