Phil Shils


In this world you should convert easily.
Or not convert at all.
Find the way of the pigeon.
Never be forced to escape
or be a refugee.
Land where there is a place to alight.
Sing underwater bruits.
Raise your young in rafters.
Make a nest of scraps.
Eat morsels moist or dry.
Don't grow teeth. Or do.
Find the warm windowsill.
Cool on the predatorless statue.
Imitate the sound
a flapping goose makes that terrifies
the bigger jawed beakless creatures.
Be the night birds that move more
air in the dark but still sparingly.
Sink talons into the screen door
and perch like a bat.
Open with the door.
Close with the door.
Be weighty as a body.
Be weightless as the
remaining fish
in the opaque sea.
Do you believe
in pigeon babies?
They creak like hinges
between the bricks
hiding where there
was a chimney and smoke.

Phil Shils works as a physician assistant in Decatur, Illinois. His poetry is online and in print at Rattle, Stirring: A Literary Collection, Right Hand Pointing, Sixth Finch, B O D Y and others. An online and expanded print chapbook about Iife with his disabled daughter was published in early 2014 by Right Hand Pointing Press. More info and links at

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