Afraid of his pieces, he placed them in a bowl on the coffee table
for discussion. She counted ants between crochet stitches with a mouth
full of questions and wondered when to check the mail. He drove so far
home lost him in steaming rainbows of blacktops. She walked hallways,
ran hands along wood grain and picture frames. They never captured
her seeking: towels folded squares within squares, a life shrinking clean.
He now tastes blood and names it communion as if heartbreak were holy,
but she knows it’s just the sky full of rain and thunder, echoing dead trees.
wrap a seed in my ashes, so I may become
the speckled shadows of leafy branches.
Growth eternal, I’ll layer reincarnating
rings, bear fruit, hold tire swings. Please,
place no stones with my name mark, but please
etch your lovers’ names into my bark. Among
the gardens green, spread my energy, for
I’d rather ripen a grove for you than a cemetery.
Mandy Brown (she/her) is a queer Central Texas poet, a 2019 Poetry Half-Marathon winner, and the 2013 recipient of A Room of Her Own Foundation's Tillie Olsen Fellowship. Her poetry has been published in Vine Leaves Literary Journal, Extract(s), Eunoia Review, and more. Mandy currently teaches at an alternative school for high-risk students and loves it! Read more at mandyalyssbrown.weebly.com.