Two Poems

by Brandy McKenzie 


Geese shatter the ceiling sky      calls

like sharp cuts in the day              criss-crossed

and sadistic.  It’s just another passage

like so many  I’ve witnessed

annual loss          annual movement           annual

homage to the memory of

forgotten            hear this: gunfire in the

distance               I now think         though

I used to believe in  the reports                                 of careless machines

the romance of men in denim being

callous with levers           but now the randomness

of it all overwhelms me:                               who could allow

things to slip & break      like that                who

could shatter the rhythms & call themselves

a man?                 So now, geese over gunfire,

grown deliberate             intentional breakage

may never the two connect        & I listen

to the smaller birds chirp merrily, endlessly

above all the rest             happy chatter    well

fed, that punctuated explosion of bass

cracking beneath in the belly of the valley

like a whip,         stern and unpredictable

as a skipped piston          something fires

Consider the lillies

Fly corpses fallen in corners:
there has to be a word for this:
litter, detritus, mournful dead even
when we forget or refuse to mourn.

So much death: even the chickens forage
through leafmold for scavenge, and we
feed on what hens discard, the fresh laid,
none so bright, rich, or warm. This world scattered,

your home. Chaos. Polarization.
The slow shift of foundations set atop
spring-fed ground so everything leans
off plumb, water-soaked floor swollen

upward, the maple-laden hill shifting down.
Everything is impermanent, my friend: you know this.
You salvaged lilies today, unbent
them from the weight of rising morning glory,

buried them in a new, safe home. Your skin
is lily white, eyes blue as the sky showing through
that hole in the roof where the tree came down.
Keep laying the bricks, let the weather in.

It’s all you can do. The land as crooked as you.

In the past life that may still be her present life, but probably isn’t quite her future life,Brandy McKenzie published poems in more than three dozen literary magazines, and worked on the editorial boards of three different nationally distributed literary magazines. These days, she mostly works as a paralegal, teach critical thinking and writing to community college students, and try to provoke conversation about the alternate history she’s sure we’re entering like some sort of waking dream.

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