by Bill Brown
Blessed is the sick day. / Blessed are things that open / for no reason.
Let’s say a brother’s left hand
opens and closes on his coffee cup.
A lover’s face opens when someone
enters a room. The blessed day, being sick,
needs such nurturing, such openings—
a crocus blossom in the snow,
a door of an abandoned house,
a coffin without a corpse.
not like a switch blade,
fast and deliberate,
but like a heart valve,
its blood nutrient rich—
so the frozen crocus will re-blossom,
the abandoned house welcome
stray cats and phoebes,
and the coffin, as always,
awaits to be filled
like the blessed day waits
the unexpected so long
it becomes expected,
a birdfeeder surprised
by a chickadee that grubs
the bottom for the last seed.
A C-section births
the next day, pulled
from the night which
will not open. And so
I arise early, not sad,
but aware that a brother’s hand,
a lover’s face will one day
exist in framed squares
above some mantel, and
memory will circle a snowy sky
like smoke from a chimney
which captured by the snow
will coat the forest leaf mold
that harvests light through
scraggly limbs to bring forth
Wake to a quiet rain touching the windows,
streaming down the slant porch roof
into the Rose of Sharon, a thousand blossoms
long gone at November’s edge, another
October preparing for dismissal.
Out the study window, yellow-brown
hickory, red-green gum, and maples
with their degrees of orange-crimson—
how kind for trees to dress before winter’s
vault is eased shut and locked, how sad
the word yearning is introduced to describe
the inexplicable. Something akin to shyness
accompanies the heart, a hungry child,
too polite to ask, watches the last piece
of cake served to her brother.
Bill Brown is the author of five collections of poems, three chapbooks and a textbook. The recipient of many fellowships, Brown was awarded the Writer of the Year 2011 by the Tennessee Writers Alliance. A Scholar at Bread Loaf and a Fellow at VCCA, Brown has work in Asheville Poetry Review, Atlanta Review, Southern Humanities Review, Potomac Review, Prairie Schooner, North American Review, Southern Poetry Review, Tar River Poetry, Smartish Pace, Rattle, West Branch, Borderlands, The Literary Review, and Connecticut Review, among others.
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