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March 6, 2017 | Poetry

Three Poems

Erika Jo Brown

Three Poems photo

Anecdote of the Puddle

Lo, I was baptized by the blossoms
of a lilac bush. That’s what it felt like
it felt like. I can’t tell the invisible yous
how much I love flowers, glazed by rain.

With his eyes, my shih tzu says to me
                                  —what is your deal
with symbolic actions in real landscapes?
Who wants to get slapped by a few pallid
petals? He was just being cranky. 

He had spent all morning cowering
from the thunder gods in a utility closet. 

It’s a crock, I suggested to him,
about the thunder gods, and tried
to explain accuweather to him.
He looked at me again with 

my favorite eyes, on account of all
the projections I’ve flung and collected
over the years—sacrifice, fealty, devotion—
those buggy inbred eyes. 

And wordlessly, we decided
to go through the puddle together,
eschewing the slightly drier path
on higher ground. 

 

Poem About Feelings and My Dog

I read that dogs are capable
of only first-order feelings—
but what are guilt and shame
if not fear of judgment?
That’s why we call the perp
not guilty, not innocent.
To lazily lounge on the beige
chaise, like my dog, or to run
for fun is a dream for a girl
like me. The idea of nation
becomes vertiginous and
my secondary and tertiary
feelings billow, my range
of motion narrows. I hunch
and hurry. In Houston, we
wear sandals in November.
I want my dog to live forever.
I want to be a zygote again.
I want to be a dumb plant. 

 

Utah

Consider the red veins of the wild rose leaves,
the glinting gilt hint of a piece of pyrite. I’ve
heard tell—I’ve said it myself—that the arroyos
of Sonora make a moonscape. That assumes
a scene particularly earthly then. Perhaps some-
thing to do with lawns. Seeds manufactured
then bought in a store, sodded and sown by
those euphemistically referred to as “landscapers”
by some, as “day laborers” by others, which some
call nothing, not thinking of names or children
or chicken dinners of others. Or perhaps
real earth is the sweaty equatorial
jungle, lush, unnamed, dwindling by the day.
But this is not a critique of late-stage capitalism,
as eminently critiquable and unstoppable as it is.
This is about not making your mark, but
find your Mars. In the labyrinthine orbitals
of the model eye, in the fibers of rug
upon which therapy dog sleeps.
In the unconsidered, you can find it. 

 

image: Aaron Burch


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