Julie Phillips Brown


1 poem


from Immemorial




Come slowly—Eden
Lips unused to Thee—
Bashful—sip thy Jessamines
As the fainting Bee—

Reaching late his flower,
Round her chamber hums—
Counts his nectars—
Enters—and is lost in Balms.

              —Dickinson, Fragment 211







It is what refuses us.

We stroke along its granite skin. How slowly it comes, an edifice echoed from us.
Trace a name down its spine, call it     Ineffable

as it sheers toward liminal night. A siphon of voices cast as solid absence,
those unremembered echoed back on us in an oblivious clash.

Wall. As dark. As rends. Extremities, the dearticulate, world thrown     Negative of
wakened departures

Ever returning, a black pitched earthward and in, the widewise movement of the mind.







Lie by me,
place your vibrant arm
nearby, an effusion of black,
of warmth, the most improbable
confluence. Unificent in a field
of lunged blooms, spectral
horizons shot—we are not
intimates. It would be a wonder, the bare
graze, if it passed between us, as water     waved between bodies, limbs whipped
in stifled crescendo.

An expanse, and deep. Darkling we meet its glitter and swim, the flashing
transluminous of a sea exceeding seas, swept to atmosphere and circulons of light
flickered loose, breathshorn skins and bowers







This wall, mirror
of us both and trace
of our touch, a pall—

salt of night
over the limpid tongue,
our lips
our breath
eyes, sealed—

Bodies reclining in exasperant out flux, language hums in the chamber, ashes
over the earth in its own dust, and wakes
through the stone; we look

and find our names already written
here among the ciphers







Your name, remnant
of the self spread
from itself

We infer the body.

Here is your body
and another, still others
shed from themselves
and lettered.







Here in the black stone, we look
and you are passing on among the cool grain—

you are ever elsewhere, and we
no nearer.

Julie Phillips Brown is a poet, painter, scholar, and book artist. After earning an M.F.A and a Ph.D. at Cornell University, she served as the N.E.H. Post-Doctoral Fellow in Poetics at Emory University’s Bill and Carol Fox Center for Humanistic Inquiry. Her poems and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in Angels of the AmericlypseColumbia Poetry ReviewConjunctions (online exclusive), Contemporary Women’s Writingdelirious hemDenver QuarterlyJacket2Mixed MessagesPeregrinePlumePositRappahannock ReviewTahoma Literary ReviewTalisman, and elsewhere. She currently lives in Lexington, Virginia, where she teaches creative writing, studio art, and American literature.