This week features three poems by Michael H. Brownstein. “The Season of Death,” beginning with skunk juice and ending in the spray of summer, makes us wish for both. “Sea Voices” is short and simple, and causes us to wonder who, amidst the yellow and green, is the man down the lane. And in “My Last Dance With My Mother,” the power lies not in what Brownstein says (although his words are undoubtedly beautiful and heartbreaking), but what he does not say – what he leads us to but breaks off before telling us.
the season of death
hung over the fog like skunk juice,
mulberries heavy and thick,
ripening into black, its leaves
browning to the death hues of autumn.
What was left was left,
what remained began to smell,
everywhere an ending for one species
and a feast for another.
We refused what was in front of us,
pushed back from the table full
and never noticed the drought over the mountain–
it did not pertain to where we were,
water deep and easily cleaned,
the stores full of themselves:
money meant nothing
when it no longer mattered.
summer ended before its time,
we watched it drain itself clear,
bided our time like fugitives,
and wandered into the spray.
near the lower part of the hill
a few acres before dusk, the sun
yellowed corn silk, air green
with spring rain, a skin of the man
who lives down the lane
My Last Dance With My Mother
A black fog squinted into crevices between her teeth,
India inked her gums, her breath a ragged windstorm with a kite,
the kite dodging and dipping, flipping and shifting,
a tree branch, then–When you placed your hand in hers,
she squeezed your fingers as if she knew, her eyes open, a stutter and a—
The shape of California and the shape of Illinois no longer mattered to her,
Her hair honeydooed from tye-dyed blonde,
the strands of white began–
And the black fog undermined her lips,
her pale skin dimpling into tiny blood warts,
insignificant, but there nonetheless and she lay in bed head jerking, mouth wide, and she–
Each poem is exudes such different and varying emotions and seems to spark with foreboding energy as they tumble forcefully to their ends. Join us next week for another great post! If you are interested in seeing your own work on Words, Pauses, Noises, please check out our Submission Guidelines.