Poetry by Georgia Rose Phillips

“What the Night Asked”

            By Georgia Rose Phillips

The reading lamp cast an uneasy shadow
between the minutes, as I asked the night
what it knows beyond slowed breathing
and mapping sequined constellations.
The navy pressed itself against the
window as I dissolved into the dense
material of dreaming that failed to lull me.
I gave myself up to a belief that we are only
as humane as we are to those who have nothing
to give— nothing to give back – I thought,
as I drifted towards the realization that—
even the night, with all its failings,
knows itself like you do, and believes in the
magic of moving through the world in a body.
As the hours pressed on, the night revealed
itself through the restless twitch of the dog
and the scuttle of possums in the ceiling,
before it reclined into stillness, and asked,
how do you sleep in a world where a species
more ancient than our own is executed for consumption?
How do you live knowing
the wisdom of a civilization has been ignored
because of our failure to comprehend its language?
How do you reconcile ending the mystery
of another’s consciousness that mirrors our own—
when bodies are the gift of the living,
bodies are a gift for all living.

- Georgia Rose Phillips is a teacher and a PhD candidate on a full RTP scholarship in the University of New South Wales (UNSW) Creative Writing Program. She holds a BA. English Literature with a first-class Honours in Creative Writing also from UNSW. In 2018, her novella length work of creative nonfiction, ‘Holocene’, was shortlisted and then highly commended for the Scribe Nonfiction Literary Prize. Alongside her research, teaching and creative practice, Georgia works as a literary critic for the Historical Novels Review.

Copyright©2020 by Georgia Rose Phillips. All Rights Reserved.