Maya Phillips


My father will begin again. He has bought
a juicer and a book on integrative health.

Here, with the doctor as witness,
my father swears to his body,
on his body, the all of his life.
This is his new start.

The doctor remains silent—
after all, what can one say to the dead?

      A shot of insulin                     ?
     Two pills before bed                ?

     I’m sorry
as though he forgot
to write the prescription, as though
the insurance was declined:
     I’m sorry—

He presses the stethoscope to the stale echo of him.

What can one say?

Maya Phillips was born and raised in New York. Maya received her BFA in writing, literature, and publishing with a concentration in poetry from Emerson College and her MFA in poetry from Warren Wilson’s MFA Program for Writers. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in BOAAT, Ghost Proposal, FreezeRay, and Anomaly (formerly Drunken Boat), and her arts & entertainment journalism has appeared in The New York Times, Vulture, American Theatre, and more. She currently works as the associate content editor & producer at the Academy of American Poets and as a freelance writer. She lives in Brooklyn.