Phyllis Hemann

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The sun sings to us,

in a frequency
we cannot hear.

Flares of solar waves speed
light years between
the magnetic attraction
of sun speech

and the warmth
upon our ears.

Can you hear my song?
It calls to you
day and night.

A ballad of unceasing chords
formed from the universe

drumming notes
into the beats of hearts.

A rhythm heard as blood
circulates through bodies.

The wind sculpts an interlude
from our respiration —
in and out,

so delicately repetitive
eardrums can no longer
differentiate self
from natural hymn.

Sing to me
I listen.


My hands are as broken,
as the limbs of the fallen oak
in my backyard,

yet he gave them to me
for a purpose.

I remind myself
a masterpiece is never
about perfection
in the end, rather depth
of emotion, technique, dedication.
The artist builds upon a lifetime
of experiences, the sum
of existence.

My crippled fingers
can still comfort
if only with words,
when actions
become impossible.

Even when I no longer see
worth in the eyes
of a world that values
physicality as a virtue,

my brokenness
is beauty within
his shadow.


A psalm for my shadow

It’s 3 a.m. and my dog cases the house again.
Around and around he memorizes
every corner, each breath,
piece of furniture, cubbyhole,
clutter pile. He inspects all,
investigates every possibility before
pushing down a pile of books to read.
His mental map of this house
weighs him down.
Too much to protect
in so little time.
Go to sleep – I instruct.
He ignores me
obsessively. I contemplate
locking one of the doors
behind him or researching
why my dog is such a weirdo

Does an answer exist; he seeks
one desperately on his own?

Love, loyalty, obligation –
what is it to drive him –
consumed with nothing more
than spending a life
corralling souls.

Phyllis Hemann writes and teaches in Arkansas. She holds a M.F.A. from Antioch University Los Angeles and B.A.’s from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and St. Gregory’s University. Her work has appeared in newspapers, journals and anthologies. She is the author of THE INVISIBLE HEROINE (Finishing Line Press). Find her online at

Photo by Bradley Hook on

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