Vall de Núria

The white rose. The celestial silence.

The lake of light. The bed-like inner thigh

Of empyrean buttermilk and gold,

Call it what you will, it wakes me tonight.

Heaven reheavens. And the mind’s prelude

To the touch of your lips on my forehead,

On my neck, our drowned echoes celloing

In the dark like flames drawn on the ocean,

Is not the mind’s prelude but its heaven.

How somewhere not in Spain there’s a mountain

Borrowing your name, my soul is its snow,

And so in the summer I am nothing,

When all I want do is lay my head

Down, lay my head down on the naked slope

Of your chest and listen there for my heart.

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Rowan Ricardo Phillips is the author of two books of poetry: Heaven and The Ground. He is the winner of a Whiting Writers’ Award, the PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award for Poetry, and the GLCA New Writer’s Award for Poetry. He lives in New York City.

“Vall de Núria” was originally published in John le Carré (TLR, Winter 2015).