Michael Brownstein



We woke early afternoon to a Witch’s Day,
the blue lit sky framed in a curvature of cloud.
On the counter, cool drinking water from the creek of red horse-mint
and the scent of greens mixed with onions and discolored peppers.
Don’t tell me you do not know this feeling of things gone well,
self-satisfied, colored purple-red.
Near the deadfall, we built what was ours to build,
opened it to a sea of stars in the evening before an erosion of light,
settled in beneath thick quilted blankets and soft sheets,
listened to the way charms and blessings spread into eveningsong,
the way bearwalkers move in the dark four days after the burial.
We have two more days to lie here waiting. Make yourself at home:
you can not say this was not the way of our life,
the creek and the cemetery our autobiographies,
the faint shadow of rainbow, the glitter of warmth in a touch,
the leather pouch with its victim set safe behind vinyl.



Mudflats eke black varnish
across strings of grass
sunlit and prismed, dark
vapor and shadow. Crayfish
dig into earth, minnows
slide from puddle
to puddle. Nearby, fishing
birds statue still. A wind
comes in through the boneyard,
shell and snail, rock and sand.
Nothing wishes to move
so nothing moves. You thought this
a poem about weather.
It’s not. It’s about the ecology
of love, how a favorite place
darkens inside out, how a mother
in law’s plants poison dogs,
how the items we cherish
break, how one day we wake,
look at one another and find
ourselves gasping for love,
our hands bound into tight fists,
our eyes watering, our nose,
our mouth, the shape of the way
we walk, different somehow
and we don’t know it,
yet the life we held
all of those many years
mortar between good brick,
drywall that does not mold,
paint that does not peel,
the glass in the upstairs window
that does not clatter in the wind.
The sun rises. Yellow light
floats over the bed. The dogs
bark, a cat meows, and somewhere,
in the distance, a chorus of song.