Philip Schaefer

Animal Faith

She gathers pollen in June
with the other bees and smears
the dust across her forehead, so that
for seconds, she is organic.
This is how she was reborn:
organism to orgasm to orange peel.
For her, science is a way
of laying her body in a creek
while the boys from school
skip rocks across her back.
Eventually she will split into chips
of flint that will never rub together.
And this, more than anything, is why
it’s impossible to tell the girl
you don’t believe in her.



Dragonflies click together
like magnets in the July heat,

bulbs pulsing with sex
at the stomach.

A mercurial flitting
between casualty and pleasure.

What’s the difference?
To be twin to something

other: a handshake
signal for yes, light up, rub

in. Cicadas hushing
into rupture, a periodic

darkness. That clarity
in steam before hard air.

A wild language
canceled out

by not talking,

June bugs forgetting
what month.

Philip Schaefer is the author of three chapbooks: [Hideous] Miraculous (BOAAT Press), Radio Silence (winner of the 2015 Black Lawrence Black River Competition), and Smokes Tones (Phantom Books). The latter two collections were co–written with poet Jeff Whitney. Schaefer won the 2016 Meridian Editor’s Prize in poetry and has work published or forthcoming in Adroit, Birdfeast, Guernica, Hayden’s Ferry, Sonora Review, and Thrush, among others. He tends bar in Missoula, Montana.