'A number of the pieces in Ice House Sketches originally were cast as poems. However, ultimately I thought the subject matter and mood more appropriate for prose. I hope some of the poetry still shows through. I call them sketches-like the little sketches Hemingway interspersed between his fully developed short stories in his collected volume. They have no beginning, middle, or end, and no conflict or resolution. They simply are. These are pieces of fiction. Characters, places, and incidents are either products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any reference to actual persons, living or dead, events or locales, is entirely coincidental.'-Robert Phillips THE POET (Again) The Poet hands a white bar napkin to Slugger. The words as usual are in black felt tip pen: A poem about how glad We are you're back. You look fine, finer than Carolina in the morning, brighter than that Carolina sun. Keep smiling, keep slugging, Slugger.