Robert Phillips
What's The Point?

It could be the index hand of a clock, creating
the inane expression, "At this point in time..."
It could be a yellow dot in an Impressionist painting,
which eyes blend with green and blue.
It could be the muzzle of a dog, stretched rigidly
toward the game, one paw raised.
It could be the tip of a veterinarian's needle,
plunged into a cat's ninth life.
It could be a decimal mistake created by a computer,
making someone a millionaire, for a day.
It could be the end of the horn of a snail,
rapidly withdrawn in sensitivity.
It could be a flower's pistil which fascinates
hairy-legged aliens with four wings.
It could be a tiny deer-tick bite which, unnoticed,
creates considerable consequences.
It could be a glowing spot on the lung in the X-ray
during my much-delayed annual checkup.
It could be a vector of an airplane I almost missed,
which now for the life of me I cannot get off.
It could be a sharpened flintstone tied to a spear
chucked directly toward my heart.
It might be your unexpected point of departure:
Without you, life is pointless.

© 1995 by Robert Phillips

Robert Phillips is a professor at the University of Houston. His latest books are Breakdown Lane: Poems (Johns Hopkins University Press) and William Goyen: Selected Letters from a Writer's Life (University of Texas Press).