Two Poems

by Michelle Brown

With work previously appearing in CV2, Arc, Prism and The Malahat Review, Michelle Brown's debut poetry collection will be published with Palimpsest Press next spring. She lives in Toronto with her husband and three-legged pup.

Italian Vacation

The trees bow with dead lemons.
Chickens crash in the bushes.
My dreams are full of them.
An earthquake shook the sphere
and seawater still leaks from the sky.
A red stalk waves for me.
Each mouthful of wine a wedding.
I grab my own neck in the mirror.
I grab my own hand and squeeze.
I am far away from harm here.
I am eating well.
My skin is plump.
When darkness comes,
let him sit with me.
I can stay in this hammock.
I can behave as I should.
Geckos crawl into my shadow,
where the heavier tomatoes fall.
Wasps swarm around me.
I wonder which limb
they’ll remove first.

 

Hello, it’s me

Even Adele couldn’t throat the misery I felt,
rifling through Incognito Mode

while my husband worked
over a complicated meal.

I remembered the matt at the back
of your neck, the musty whatever

of you, two teens having sex for
the tenth time ever, each body part

a little triumph, a hooked comma
in my future mumblings.

Knowing you live in a two-car
off the deepest lake on the Island’s west side

is like knowing too much about anything:
it wallows in the shallows of my mind

until summer, when shins stir up
the muddiest thoughts of you.

If that was a stretch, you should
see how I used to bend out of your way

on my old route, up to the chicken place,
down way away from the yoga studio,

frankincense and sweat like a mouthful of you.
Now I’m grown and heavy-footed

and still, a tear. If that’s all it takes
for me, hello sung out of a computer

speaker, then what did it take for you
to turn away from mine: years out, when I bumped

into you between tacos at Hernandez’s,
poking at the membrane

between past and passed over.
How easy to have replied. To have tied my girlhood

up in a dark bag, rather than strewn it across my happy life
like a bra across the back

of a chair, across a life like a hand across the back of a chair,
right through the speakers, through the bra, through my hair.

 


With work previously appearing in CV2, Arc, Prism and The Malahat Review, Michelle Brown's debut poetry collection will be published with Palimpsest Press next spring. She lives in Toronto with her husband and three-legged pup.

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