Xandria Phillips

Beached Shark as a Blues Poem

before / I said / if touch didn’t mean ownership I’d swim with
more women / I’d bare down into the surf if pressing my belly to land
didn’t express sovereignty / I’d flop down with my jugular exposed to
love if it didn’t insist on mapping my tender points with a blade /
since I learned no one’s ever gonna love me enough to fill this hull /
I swim bare / sinuous as a cup brimming with fangs / a chalice
overfilled / an impact like knees buckling / my last words /
fuck me up / ocean / fuck me / up / you’ve got the kind of lips that
could swallow a slave ship whole / drag me to death’s waistline and
yank me back / bring me bodies / to entourage / give me a page to cursive
with blood / I’ll be your prolific body catcher till I run aground

Xandria Phillips is the author of Reasons For Smoking, which won the 2016 The Seattle Review chapbook contest judged by Claudia Rankine. She hails from rural Ohio where she was raised on corn, and inherited her grandmother’s fear of open water. Xandria received her BA from Oberlin College, and her MFA from Virginia Tech. Xandria is Winter Tangerine's associate poetry editor, and the curator of Love Letters to Spooks, a literary space for Black people. She has received fellowships from Cave Canem and Callaloo. Xandria’s poetry is present or forthcoming in Callaloo, Beloit Poetry Journal, West Branch, Nashville Review, Nepantla, Gigantic Sequins, Ninth Letter Online and elsewhere.