Xandria Phillips


Ode to a Vibrator Left On All Night


In her absence, my hunger for hum
and throttle was enough to deal a cool

-girl parlor trick. An active shotgun,
I drove a stick through the yellow veins

of Accra, while a man’s feet pulsed
the gas and punched the clutch. I knew

the sound preceding the engine’s
threat to tear through his own shirt

was a purred plea for shift. My synced
clench and lean and pluck locked gears, 

as the vehicle took me somewhere the moon
couldn’t watch. I run this shit, I rationed. 

Remember the animal that after escaping,
returns to captivity. Choice crushed my

body into shapewear. Want for motion
free of direction folded me into cars

with strangers. I want when I want, and then
I wish for corrosion. This man and I both 

nameless as rust in scrap metal garages
of memory. I am too versed 

to lavish praise on stamina alone,
but I must admit, my girl has bars.

Last night, I tell myself, was a First
World fumble, a misstep at battery’s

expense because it’s easier to never
consider the sentience of a pleasure 

machine. How her trembling must have
lullabied my drunk tongue drilling itself

on the intricacies of sexual decorum
even in sleep; how she may have throbbed

all night beside me, anticipating her
own reciprocal and tender invasion.



Xandria Phillips is the author of Reasons For Smoking, which won the the 2016 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 is Winter Tangerine‘s associate poetry editor, the curator of Love Letters to Spooks, and the poetry editor at Honeysuckle Press. She has received fellowships from Cave Canem and Callaloo. Her poetry has recently been published in Beloit Poetry Journal, West Branch, Nashville Review, Nepantla, Gigantic Sequins, The Journal, The Offing, and elsewhere.