Over Rome, indecipherable birds collapse or clone or bend twilight into contra- diction. They have no idea they’re even here; otherwise, how could they give so much secret away for nothing?
Dialogue of Self and Self, Having Lost Track of Earth on Google Maps
Let’s not give up yet, I said.
Let’s let the mint and nimblewill wake to say their say.
Let’s start a fire, here’s a paper bag.
Let’s wait until the ibis builds her miles abruptly up.
Let’s sleep by dim cinders near the gold-black pond.
Ok, I said. I’ll leave this truck inside a ditch.
I’ll hide silkworms from snow inside my clothes.
Heads or tails, no matter what, (I say it to myself like this)
I won’t look past the ocean to see the ocean.
I won’t climb down a hole to find the sky.
And Now for the Difficult Part
Check email right now. Last good memory, to tweet. Haven’t seen a star all year. One white deer in a photograph— the photograph, to supplement one white deer. Prediction: leopard moths no more, neither June heat, and ice along the sparrow’s wire.
Always the difficult part: happiness. But before the quick delete, watch this: cicadas on the branch undress. Send this: a vase of weeds. Build this: a fire on the fallen tree. Take this: my hand, we’ll slip into the lake, and then, dry off slow in smoke, and then into the bees, follow me.
I’m Not Nostalgic but Mars Doesn’t Have My Beech Trees
In flood stories: earth revives, the rains dry up for white birds—but the raven, remember? Never seen again. Wasn’t new life he was looking for.
Collier Brown is a poet, literary scholar, and photography critic. Stephen F. Austin University Press published his first full-length poetry collection, Eye, Thus Far, Unplucked, in 2017, and individual poems have appeared, among other places, in Best New Poets, Rattle, Measure, Asheville Poetry Review, Cortland Review, Poetry East, and Barrow Street. Brown currently teaches writing at Harvard University and is the founding editor of Od Review, an online venue for the photographic arts.